BAKU, Azerbaijan, Feb.15. Finland and Sweden will bring enormous capacity to NATO,
Ambassador Julianne Smith, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, said during a special online briefing, Trend reports.
“Well, first of all, I would say not just the United States, but what I hear each and every day here across the alliance is full and deep support for Finland and Sweden joining the alliance. I personally have been very impressed, and I think the secretary general has said the same, about the speed with which the ratification process has nearly been completed. We’re facing a situation now where 28 of the 30 Allies have completed the ratification process. That is warp speed for the NATO alliance and very different from the process that we’ve seen with some prior new members of the alliance,” she said.
Julianne Smith pointed out the interest of working closely with the remaining countries.
“Both Hungary and Türkiye have yet to complete the ratification process. We have all – many of us – spoken up about our interests. Certainly the U.S. hopes to see Finland and Sweden and expects Finland and Sweden to join the alliance soon. Many Allies would like to see that, including the United States, occur by the Vilnius Summit. In terms of what the two allies potentially could bring, I mean, let me just step back and say, as NATO partners, these were already two countries that were making a series of important contributions to the alliance. These two countries were exercising and training with NATO allies and they were also participating in NATO missions in recent years, and we’ve welcomed that participation. They’ve made important, concrete contributions too to our collective security,” she said.
The ambassador believes that when they join, when they become full-fledged members, certainly these are two democracies that mirror and “share the values that we all hold dear and that we protect here at the NATO alliance.”
“And they will bring real capacity. These countries bring a tremendous amount of experience. They have important regional relationships. I know that the Nordic and Baltic nations in their immediate neighborhood will certainly welcome both of them joining the alliance. What’s also interesting about these two countries is they’re members of the European Union. They believe, as we do, in strong ties between NATO and the European Union. And so I think ultimately, when this comes to pass in the hopefully not too distant future, they will find a warm welcome on the part of all allies, and that I expect their transition to full-fledged membership to be essentially seamless. And I have no doubt that they will bring enormous capacity to this alliance,” she added.
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