U.S. hopes for positive Sweden, Finland NATO bid resolution

U.S. hopes for positive Sweden, Finland NATO bid resolution

U.S. Under Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried attends the donor conference for Moldova to help the country with the influx of Ukrainian refugees, in Berlin, Germany April 5, 2022. REUTERS Hannibal Hanschke

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WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) – The United States is hopeful that there will soon be a positive resolution to the problems between Turkey, Finland and Sweden over the two Nordic countries’ NATO membership offers, the United States’ top diplomat said. State Department for Europe on Wednesday.

Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) hearing, Karen Donfried, assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, said Washington understood that talks between the sides 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 the accession of Finland and Sweden,” he said.

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Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But the offers have been met with opposition from Turkey, which has bristled at what it says is Helsinki and Stockholm’s support for Kurdish militants and arms embargoes on Ankara.

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

Asked if Donfried believed all parties would be on the same page by next week’s Madrid summit, he said: “I will say we are certainly pushing for that.”

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

Any progress on Nordic membership bids “now depends on the direction and speed at which these countries take action,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said. read more

BIDEN-ERDOGAN MEETING?

While the issue is officially between Sweden, Finland and Turkey, many analysts have speculated that more direct involvement from Biden could facilitate a breakthrough.

Some believe that such a turnout could be a bilateral meeting between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Biden.

In a call with reporters, a senior administration official detailed Biden’s upcoming bilateral meetings with world leaders on the sidelines of upcoming G7 and NATO summits, but did not announce any with Erdogan.

“Although obviously the format of these meetings leaves ample opportunity for leaders to engage on the fringes,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ties between the United States and Turkey remain sour as the two NATO allies disagree on a number of issues, including Syria policy and Ankara’s purchase of Russian defense systems.

Biden and Erdogan last met in person in October 2021 on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome.

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Information from Humeyra Pamuk; edited by Jonathan Oatis and Josie Kao

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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