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Blinken: Finland and Sweden will soon join Nato

In a meeting with the Finnish and Swedish foreign ministers, the US Secretary of State said he predicted the Nordic countries would join soon.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the issue of Turkey delaying Nato ratification of Finland and Sweden.

Finland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Green) spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billström as part of the Finnish FM's three-day visit to the US.

The diplomats are meeting for the second time in two weeks, having previously convened on the sidelines of a Nato foreign minister meeting in Bucharest, Romania.

In Washington, Blinken said he believed both Finland and Sweden would join Nato soon.

"I have every expectation that both will formally become members soon," Blinken assured reporters during a press conference following the meeting.

The Turkey Dilemma

Turkey has been slow to proceed with ratification of Sweden's and Finland's membership bids, with Blinken noting that Nato membership is a process and Ankara has had every right to raise its own security concerns.

"This is a matter of having a process for the entire alliance for new members to come in. As part of that process, one of the members has raised concerns. What is clear, again as I said, is that there is overwhelming support in the United States," Blinken told reporters.

He added that the United States is not directly engaging in bilateral discussions with Turkey about Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, but the entirety of US leadership has given its strongest support to the Nordic countries joining.

Blinken further noted that this Nato ratification process has moved more swiftly than ever before, even though Turkey and Hungary had not yet given their final approval. Hungary said it plans to ratify Finland's membership in February.

Haavisto emphasised that Finland has been engaging in its own dialogue with Turkey, citing Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen's (Cen) trip to Ankara on Thursday to discuss the Nato bid. After meeting with his counterpart, Kaikkonen told Reuters (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that he could not foresee a timetable on Turkish ratification.

Haavisto added that Finland acknowledged Turkey's security questions.

"We take the security concerns of all allies seriously. Finland is a security provider whose membership will further strengthen the alliance as a whole," Haavisto told reporters.

Finland makes Nato stronger

Blinken also highlighted Finland and Sweden's military capabilities and past records in peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq and Libya.

He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin has failed in numerous ways since starting the war in Ukraine, particularly in believing that he could weaken Nato.

"He has actually made Nato even stronger," Blinken said, referring to Finland and Sweden deciding to join the alliance.

Haavisto will conclude his trip to the US on Friday, when he meets with UN Secretary General António Guterres and other UN leaders in New York City.

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