August 15, 2022
US Senate votes to approve NATO membership for Finland, Sweden

US Senate votes to approve NATO membership for Finland, Sweden

The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO.

Washington:

The US Senate on Wednesday confirmed Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO, strongly backing the expansion of the transatlantic alliance in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Senate voted 95 to 1 in favor of the accession of the two Nordic countries, making the United States the 23rd out of 30 NATO countries to formally support it so far, with Italy ratifying it on Wednesday and France on Tuesday. Gave it

The only opponent was Republican Josh Hawley, who argued that the US should focus on defending its homeland, but also that Washington should focus on the challenge from China rather than Europe.

One senator, Republican Rand Paul, voted “present” instead of supporting or opposing the proposal.

Senate leader Chuck Schumer said it was a sign of Western unity after Moscow launched a war against Ukraine on February 24.

“This is vitally important and as a signal to Russia: They cannot scare America or Europe,” Schumer said.

“Putin has tried to use his war in Ukraine to divide the West. Instead, today’s vote shows that our coalition is stronger than ever,” he said.

All 30 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization must agree whether Finland and Sweden, officially non-aligned but long-standing coalition partners, are accepted.

According to the NATO list, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey have yet to formally consent to their accession.

But in reality only Turkey has presented a challenge, demanding some concessions from Finland and Sweden to withdraw their membership.

Ankara has demanded the extradition of dozens of government opponents from both countries in return for its support, whom it calls “terrorists”.

Turkey said on 21 July that a special committee would meet with Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess whether the two countries were complying with its terms.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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