Washington wants to decide on Sweden and Finland’s appeal “as soon as possible,” Republican minority leader vows
Sweden and Finland’s applications for membership in the US-led NATO military bloc could be approved by Washington in the summer, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said during a visit to the two Nordic countries.
McConnell and a group of fellow Republican lawmakers Susan Collins, John Barasso and John Cornin landed in Northern Europe on Sunday – the day Stockholm and Helsinki officially announced they would join NATO.
After talks in Stockholm with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson, Senator McConnell stressed that the United States expects to approve Sweden’s application. “Before August.”
According to him, other NATO countries could approve it faster than American lawmakers.
Consensus of all member states is required to include a new nation in the alliance. The bloc currently consists of the United States, Canada and 28 European countries.
On Monday, a Republican delegation traveled to neighboring Finland, where McConnell met with Finnish President Sauli Ninistিস্ত, making similar promises to Sweden.
At the end of the discussion, he indicated “The goal in the United States is to get it approved [Finland’s membership of NATO] As soon as possible. “
He made it clear that journalists wanted to be more specific “We hope to do this before the August break, when Congress usually goes out of session, obviously it will be better before the fall election.”
There are strong “Bipartisan support” Among lawmakers, McConnell has suggested voting for Finnish membership in NATO. “It would be very significant, not unanimous.”
Collins welcomed the aspirations of Stockholm and Helsinki to join NATO, saying that these countries would significantly strengthen the bloc with their capable military, advanced technology and knowledge of Russia.
Sweden and Finland were outside the US-led bloc during the Cold War, but their governments now claim that Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has forced them to reconsider their position.
Moscow has warned that including the two Nordic countries in NATO would be a mistake that would further escalate tensions in the region, promising to take appropriate countermeasures if this happens.