U.S. and Finland 'Confident' Turkey's Objections to NATO Membership Can Be Met

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto on Friday expressed their confidence that Turkey’s objections to NATO membership for Sweden and Finland can be resolved in time for the Alliance’s upcoming Summit in June in Madrid, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports..

"I’m confident this is going to move forward... We do have the NATO summit coming up in a few weeks, and our full expectation is that this process will move as we head into the summit as well as at the summit itself" Blinken told reporters after his meeting with the top Finnish diplomat at the State Department.

The most important thing, per Blinken, "is that Finland and Sweden are speaking directly to and with Turkey, and working through some of the concerns that Turkey has raised and finding ways to address them."

"We very much support that process... We’re engaged with Turkey directly as well.  But the focus is on the work that Finland, Sweden, and Turkey are doing together to address the concerns" he said.

Haavisto, in his turn, said the countries “are now in an open direct and constructive dialogue process to clarify all issues” related to Turkey’s concerns. He called it "understandable" that individual allies might raise issues during the application process.

"The PKK is a forbidden organization in Finland," he added immoderately.

Blinken also said that he and Haavisto "squarely focused" on how NATO can defend members against further Russian aggression, this alliance is also critical for protecting our shared security and values from other threats, including emerging challenges like cyber-attacks, infectious disease, a warming climate.

"That’s yet another reason that we look forward to being able to call Finland and Sweden our allies and draw upon their leadership in the years ahead," he added.

Prior to his meeting with Finnish minister at the State Department, Blinken on Friday also spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba about U.S. military support for Ukraine and efforts to resolve a food crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion, the State Department said.

The Biden administration is poised to send more weapons and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in the coming days and months after Congress passed a nearly $40 billion assistance package.

The diplomats discussed the food shortages triggered by blockades of Ukrainian ports, and noted that the “Kremlin continues to weaponize food and spread false claims about U.S. sanctions,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

President Joe Biden also on Friday commented on Putins' actions, saying that the Kremlin's leader was attempting "to Finland-ize all of Europe, to make it all neutral... Instead, he NATO-ized all of Europe.”

Speaking before graduate lieutenants at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Maryland, Biden said the Western response to Putin's “brutal” war in Ukraine shows the world is aligning not on geography, “but in terms of values.”

He called the invasion, “a direct assault on the fundamental tenets of rules-based international order,” adding, “that’s the world you’re graduating into.”

Not only is Putin “trying to take over Ukraine, he’s literally trying to wipe out the culture and identity of the Ukrainian people,” Biden said. “Attacking schools, nurseries, hospitals, museums, with no other purpose than to eliminate a culture. A direct assault on the fundamental tenets of rule-based international order.”

And Putin’s brutal assault on Ukraine has spurred a truly global response "not just from Europe, but from Japan, Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, and more -- standing with us to impose sanctions on Russia," Biden said.

Biden also spoke about the global struggle between autocracies and democracies.

"I've met more with Xi Jinping than any other world leader has. When he called me to congratulate me on election night, he said to me what he said many times before. He said, 'Democracies cannot be sustained in the 21st century.  Autocracies will run the world. Why? Things are changing so rapidly. Democracies require a consensus, and it takes time, and you don’t have the time.' He's wrong..." Biden added.

Alex Raufoglu

Washington D.C.

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