Skip to content

Finland has broad, cross-party support from US, ambassador says

The US ambassador to Finland said he is optimistic that the Senate's overwhelming support will inspire the remaining members to quicken their ratification processes.

Ambassador Hickey Presented His Credentials to President Sauli Niinistö on 11 May 2022. Image: Matti Porre / Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

The US Senate's near-unanimous decision to support Finland and Sweden joining Nato is indicative of the broad, cross-party support the countries have from the US. This is according to the US ambassador to Finland, Douglas Hickey, who commented on Wednesday's Senate vote of 95-1 in favour of ratification.

"The Senate's decision sends a message to the rest of the [member] countries about how important it is to ratify Finland's and Sweden's Nato membership, and how important it is to get it done reasonably quickly," Hickey told Yle.

The ratification has also coincided with the visit of US Navy's amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge to Helsinki, ahead of joint military drills with Finland. Exercises between the two countries are expected to become more frequent, according to Hickey.

"Training between the defense forces of different Nato countries improves security in all Nato countries," Hickey said, adding that "support for Nato [from the US] has probably never been as high as it is now. I believe that regardless of which party our next presidents represent, strong support for Nato will continue."

'Other member nations will follow'

The ambassador also said he was optimistic about the remaining seven — out of 30 — countries' swift approval in the coming months, even Turkey's.

"Turkey and the other countries that are still preparing their ratification understand that Finland and Sweden are very important to the whole of Nato," he said.

The US' overwhelming support will put pressure on Turkey to advance its own ratification process, according to doctor and researcher of political science at the University of Helsinki, Iro Särkkä.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia on Friday.

The US ambassador said the meeting should be no reason for concern. Talks will likely concentrate more on the relations and economic interests shared by the two countries, he said.

Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement with the UN and Turkey to free up grain exports in the Black Sea in late July (siirryt toiseen palveluun), according to the BBC.

"We encourage discussion about grain transport. We encourage discussions about Nato. Turkey is a good partner and we hope that the discussions will progress quickly," Hickey told Yle.