WASHINGTON: The United States is hopeful that there will soon be a positive resolution of the issues between Turkey, Finland and Sweden regarding the NATO accession bids of the two Nordic countries, the State Department’s top diplomat for Europe said on Wednesday (Jun 22).
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. removed end of quote for repetition
Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the bids have faced opposition from Turkey, which has been angered by what it says is Helsinki and Stockholm’s support for Kurdish militants and arms embargoes on Ankara.
NATO leaders will convene in Madrid on Jun 29-30. Any NATO membership requires approval of all 30 members of the alliance. Turkey 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, Turkey’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 Kalin said.