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Finland's Haavisto in DC to talk Nato membership, Ukraine, and security

Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto is meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

File photo of Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (to left) and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a joint press conference on 27 May 2022. Image: Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA
Yle News

Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Green) started the first of a three-day visit to the United States on Wednesday.

Haavisto is to spend two days in Washington DC, meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss Finland's Nato membership application process, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and other matters.

Apart from that bilateral meeting, Haavisto and Blinken will be joined by Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström. Finland and Sweden applied to join Nato together, with 28 of the alliance's 30 member states having already ratified their membership.

"It is important that Finland has regular dialogue with the United States on matters concerning European security. Finland is committed to supporting Ukraine in cooperation with the EU and our partners. We appreciate all the support the United States has given to Finland’s Nato membership," Haavisto said in a statement issued on Wednesday morning.

The two remaining Nato states that have not approved Finland and Sweden's applications are Hungary and Turkey. Hungary's government has said the country's parliament will ratify the applications within a couple of months.

However, Turkey has pushed back on the Nordic countries' Nato aspirations for months, most recently demanding that Finland end its arms embargo with the country to secure Ankara's support for Finland's alliance membership.

Haavisto is scheduled to meet members of US President Joe Biden's administration as well as Congress members, and the Finnish minister will discuss foreign and security policy with researchers, according to the foreign affairs ministry.

Haavisto is also taking part in the Aspen Security Forum's panel discussion on European security. The Aspen Security Forum meets twice a year, bringing together government and business representatives — as well as researchers and journalists — to discuss current foreign and security policy issues.

Haavisto is headed to New York City on Friday, and is scheduled to meet UN Secretary-General António Guterres and other UN leaders. Topics of discussion will be the international effects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the situation in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and the Horn of Africa.

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