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US "fully supports" Finland, Sweden joining NATO

WASHINGTON, May 27 (KUNA) -- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday reiterated that his country "fully supports" Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
"I continue to be confident that both countries will soon be NATO allies," he said at a joint press conference with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto.
"The decisions by Finland and Sweden continue the trend that we've seen since President (Vladimir) Putin launched his war of aggression in which he failed to achieve a single one of his strategic aims," Blinken stressed.
"Instead of ending Ukraine's independence, President Putin has strengthened it. Instead of asserting Russia's strength, he's undermined it. Instead of dividing NATO, he's united it and now pushed more countries to apply to join," the US top diplomat noted.
Finland and Sweden's applications also "reaffirm NATO's open door policy. That door will stay open.
"That is not a provocation or a threat to Russia. NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia, but rather we aim to prevent it," he made clear.
"The reason that more countries want to join NATO is simple. They have seen the Russian Federation repeatedly attack its neighbors without provocation.
"And so not unreasonably, they're concerned that they could be next," he added.
For his part, Haavisto said that Finland's accession to NATO would "strengthen the security and stability of Northern Europe as well as wider transatlantic security." "We are very grateful for the unwavering and strong support from the United States for our NATO membership bid," he pointed out.
He noted that Turkey has "raised questions in conjunction with Finland's and Sweden's membership applications." "It is understandable that different issues may be raised by different allies along the process," he added.
Affirming that Finland has been in "active contact with Turkey," he said, "We are ready to continue discussing the outstanding issues with Turkey." "With Turkey, we are now in an open, direct and constructive dialogue process to clarify all issues. This is important.
"We think that these problems can be solved at which Turkey has been raising. It's probably very important that some results could be achieved before the Madrid summit," he stressed.
Blinken said, in this regard, that Finland and Sweden "are working directly with Turkey to address some of the concerns that have been raised. We're also talking to Turkey." "I remain confident that we will work through this process swiftly and that things will move forward with both countries.
"It is a process. In that process, countries raised concerns that they may have. We work through them. That's what Finland and Sweden are doing right now with Turkey and I'm confident that this will move forward," he remarked. Meanwhile, Haavisto said, "Russia's war in Ukraine is an attack against the entire European security order." "It's a grave breach of international law and a violation of the charter of the United Nations. Russia is flagrantly violating international law in Ukraine," the Finnish minister went on.
"Sanctions have been powerful and hit Russia hard," and that Finland is "ready to move forward with new sanctions and to consider all options including energy," he added. (end) si.gb