US secretary of state confident Finland, Sweden will join NATO

Source: Associated Press

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he is confident that Finland and Sweden applications to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will move forward despite objections from Turkey.

"Finland and Sweden are working directly with Turkey to address some of the concerns that it raised," said Blinken.

"There is a very strong consensus in NATO for the admission of Finland and Sweden, and I remain confident that we will work through this process swiftly and that things will move forward with with both countries."

Blinken made his comments during a visit from Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto to the State Department on Friday.

This comes as Turkey’s foreign minister says Sweden and Finland must now take "concrete steps" to alleviate his country’s security concerns to overcome Ankara's objections to their NATO membership bid.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday that delegations from the two Nordic countries have returned home with Turkey's demands after a visit this week and Ankara is awaiting their answers.

The countries' membership bids require support from all NATO countries, but Turkey is objecting to them.

It has cited alleged support for Kurdish militants that Turkey considers terrorists and restrictions on weapons sales to Turkey.

"Turkey has raised some concerns regarding the PKK issue, terrorist issues that for PKK is a forbidden organization in Finland," said Haavisto.

"We are part of those solutions in the European Union where terrorist organizations are listed. It's the same in Sweden and so forth. And these are the answers that we are giving, of course, in this case to to Turkey."