Blinken confident in Finland, Sweden accession to NATO

Dec 7, 2022, 8:17 PM | Updated: Dec 8, 2022, 10:37 am
Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens as President Joe Biden announces WNBA star Brittney Grine...

Secretary of State Antony Blinken listens as President Joe Biden announces WNBA star Brittney Griner's release in a prisoner swap with Russia, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday the United States is confident that Finland and Sweden will be approved soon for membership in NATO despite ratification delays in allies Turkey and Hungary.

After meeting his Finnish and Swedish counterparts on Thursday, Blinken said both countries had proved their bona fides to join the alliance, notably in joining NATO in providing support to Ukraine to counter Russia’s invasion.

Nearly all of NATO’s 30 members have already approved Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the alliance, which were made after Russia launched its war in Ukraine. Turkey and Hungary are the only two to not yet have ratified Finland and Sweden’s accession.

“Both countries have taken significant, concrete actions to fulfill their commitments, including those related to the security concerns on the part of our ally, Turkey,” Blinken said. “As their membership process continues, the United States is fully committed to Finland and Sweden’s accession.”

But Blinken said he believed Turkey’s concerns, notably with Sweden over its past support for Kurdish groups that Ankara sees as a threat, would be overcome in the near future. Sweden this week extradited a convicted member of the Kurdish PKK militant group to Turkey. Hungary’s parliament is expected to vote on NATO expansion early next year.

“I’m confident that NATO will formally welcome Finland and Sweden as members soon,” he told reporters at a joint news conference at the State Department with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

Blinken took the opportunity to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to go to war with Ukraine had backfired if he truly intended to push back on NATO expansion.

“As Sweden and Finland prepare to join NATO, we know that he’s failed at weakening our alliance,” he said. “Indeed, he’s only made NATO stronger and bigger.”

Haavisto said discussions with Turkey over the PKK have gone well so far, although there was still not a date for the Turkish parliament to consider the expansion.

“Of course, our hope is that this decision should come from Turkey rather sooner than later,” he said.

Billstrom said he would soon travel to Turkey to continue talks on the matter. “I hope that the outcome of that discussion will also bring us forward,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Protesters gather in front of police headquarters while marching Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Memphi...
Associated Press

Memphis police disband unit that fatally beat Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis police chief disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit on Saturday, citing a “cloud of dishonor” from newly released video that showed some of its officers beating Tyre Nichols to death after stopping the Black motorist. Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis acted a day after the harrowing video emerged, saying […]
1 day ago
FILE - President Joe Biden speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast, Feb. 3, 2022, on Capitol Hill i...
Associated Press

Concerns over prayer breakfast lead Congress to take it over

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Prayer Breakfast, one of the most visible and long-standing events that brings religion and politics together in Washington, is splitting from the private religious group that had overseen it for decades, due to concerns the gathering had become too divisive. The organizer and host for this year’s breakfast, scheduled for […]
1 day ago
FILE - The building that housed office space of President Joe Biden's former institute, the Penn Bi...
Associated Press

Classified docs probe pushes Biden think tank into spotlight

WASHINGTON (AP) — As Joe Biden contemplated his next move in 2017 after decades in government, he considered a familiar path — creating a Washington-based think tank to focus on international affairs and diplomacy. It proved an easy sell and a lucrative one, too. Soft landings in the capital are common for officials with a […]
1 day ago
From left, Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Italy's state-run energy company, ENI, Qatar's Minister of ...
Associated Press

Qatar replaces Russian company in Lebanon gas exploration

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon, two international oil giants and state-owned oil and gas company Qatar Energy signed an agreement Sunday that the Qatari firm will join a consortium that will search for gas in the Mediterranean Sea off Lebanon’s coast. The deal inked in Beirut brings Qatar into Lebanon’s gas exploration market three months after […]
1 day ago
FILE- People gather on Place de la Republique during a demonstration against proposed pension chang...
Associated Press

France must raise pension age to 64, prime minister says

PARIS (AP) — France’s prime minister insisted Sunday that the government’s plan to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64 is “no longer negotiable,” further angering parliamentary opponents and unions who plan new mass protests and disruptive strikes this week. Raising the pension age is one part of a broad bill that is the […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Maldives president to run again after winning primary

MALE, Maldives (AP) — Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih won a party primary and will run for a second term in September elections. Solih defeated Mohamed Nasheed, the parliament speaker and a former president, in the Maldivian Democratic Party primary held Saturday night. Nasheed played a key role in transforming the Indian Ocean archipelago state […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Blinken confident in Finland, Sweden accession to NATO