Washington DC, 9 December 2022 (TDI): The United States (US) Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a joint press briefing at Dean Acheson Auditorium in Washington DC, on Thursday.

The briefing was joined by the Foreign Ministers of Sweden, Tobias Billström, and the Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.

Remarks by US State Secretary

During the briefing, Antony Blinken said that the US will be able to call Sweden and Finland, as NATO allies, soon. In this vein, he added, “I have every expectation that both will formally become members soon.”

“Both countries have taken significant concrete steps to meet their commitments, including those related to security concerns on the part of our ally Turkey.” Blinken reiterated.

Notably, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both Finland and Sweden requested membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Turkiye, a longtime member, refused to endorse their request until a number of conditions were met.

Read more: US supports Sweden, Finland to apply for NATO 

Remarks by Finnish Foreign Minister

Addressing the conference, Pekka Haavisto said the commitments Finland & Sweden made earlier this year to Turkiye “were largely fulfilled”.

“What we still lack is a clear date and a clear plan from the Turkish parliament to address this issue.” Haavisto continued.

He expressed the hope that Sweden and Finland would join by February, the date when the other opening state, Hungary, has promised to approve their accession.

Remarks by Swedish Foreign Minister

Tobias Billström said that his country will contribute to the security of the entire alliance. In this vein, he added, “We have focused on the process of our accession to NATO, which is progressing well.”

While addressing his support for Ukraine, the Envoy reiterated, “We stand by Ukraine and will do everything to help them win this war with the aim of restoring their territorial integrity.”

Tobias appreciated the staunch support of the US government to Sweden and Finland’s decision to join NATO.

What are Turkiye’s security concerns?

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, both Finland and Sweden seek the NATO alliance in May. To become allies, both Nordic nations require the approval of all 30 alliance member states.

Also read: Ratification of Finland and Sweden’s NATO accession protocol

Turkiye, which commands the second-largest military in the alliance, rejected the membership request. It reproached both countries for supporting Kurdish militants whom Turkiye considers terrorists.

It is pertinent to note that a trilateral memorandum has been signed between the three countries in June to address Turkiye’s concerns. Sweden & Finland are expecting to join the NATO alliance soon as they have addressed all the concerns.