Helsinki, 4 June 2022 (TDI): President of Finland Sauli Niinisto met with United States Army General Mark Milley who offered US support for Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership on Friday.

President Niinistö and General Milley also discussed the war in Ukraine and most importantly strong support for Finland’s NATO membership. Together with the bilateral defense cooperation between Finland and the US.

As a result, General Milley highlighted the significance of the contribution that both countries will bring.

“It’s clear, that from a military perspective, both Finland and Sweden, if their applications are approved, that they will bring a significant increase in the military capability of NATO,” said Milley.

The top US officer pointed out that he had come to discuss the way forward on Finland and Sweden’s NATO applications.

As well as the operations, actions, and exercises that the US will do as part of NATO. Especially, in supporting the two countries to strengthen their interoperability and readiness.

In addition to this, Milley will also visit neighboring Sweden after his visit to Helsinki.

NATO application

Finland and Sweden officially submitted their applications to join NATO on the 18th of May 2022 this year.

The Ambassadors of Finland and Sweden to NATO, Klaus Korhonen, and Axel Wernhoff, respectively conveyed the application letters to NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg at the Alliance’s Brussels headquarters.

In light of this, both countries reversed decades of military non-alignment. As a result, political and public support for membership skyrocketed in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Regardless of Stoltenberg’s repeated assurances of the two countries being welcomed ‘with open arms,’ Turkey has blocked their bids. That is, by accusing them of providing a safe haven for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey and its Western allies have designated it as a “terrorist” organization.

Above all, whilst their applications are under evaluation, both countries have sought security assurances before official accession guarantees backing from allies under Article V of NATO’s founding treaty.

Both countries have argued for a larger US military presence in the Baltic region and northern Europe.

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