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U.S. says it's hopeful for a positive resolution soon for Sweden, Finland's NATO bid

Karen Donfried, assistant secretary for Europe and Eurasian affairs, speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations hearing, said the United States was "certainly pushing" to get all parties on the same page before next week's NATO summit in Madrid.

Reuters WORLD
Published June 22,2022

The United States is hopeful that there will soon be a positive resolution of the issues between Türkiye, Finland and Sweden regarding the NATO accession bids of the two Nordic countries, the State Department's top diplomat for Europe said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) hearing, Karen Donfried, assistant secretary for Europe and Eurasian affairs, said Washington understood that the talks between the parties earlier this week had been constructive.

"We are confident that this will be resolved in a positive way. There is broad and deep support across the NATO alliance for Finnish and Swedish accession," she said.

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But the bids have faced opposition from Türkiye, which has been angered by what it says is Helsinki and Stockholm's support for terrorist militants and arms embargoes on Ankara.

NATO leaders will convene in Madrid on June 29-30. Any NATO membership requires the approval of all 30 members of the alliance. Türkiye has been a NATO ally for more than 70 years and has the alliance's second-largest army.

Asked if Donfried believed whether all parties will be on the same page by the Madrid summit next week, she said: "I will say that we're certainly pushing for that."

Speaking to reporters in Brussels earlier this week following their talks with top representatives from Sweden, Finland and NATO, Turkiye's senior officials did not express the same sense of urgency as Donfried and said the NATO summit was not a deadline.

Any progress on the Nordic membership bids "now depends on the direction and speed at which these countries will take steps," Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın said.