Blinken: US Would Support Sweden, Finland Joining NATO

Blinken: US Would Support Sweden, Finland Joining NATO Blinken: US Would Support Sweden, Finland Joining NATO Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images)

By Luca Cacciatore | Thursday, 28 April 2022 08:42 PM

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday that the White House would "strongly support" Sweden and Finland joining NATO if they decide to pursue membership, The Hill reported.

Blinken assured Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., that the Biden administration would "of course, look to them [Sweden and Finland] to make that decision."

"If that's what they decide, we will strongly support it," he continued, adding that the decision was "under very active consideration by both countries."

The response by Blinken to Costa follows expressed interest by both countries to join the military alliance since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in late February.

According to Reuters, local media is reporting that the leaders of Finland and Sweden plan to meet in the week of May 16 before they publicly announce their plans to apply to join the alliance.

The Swedish and Finnish foreign ministries have declined to comment on the reports, but Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto reiterated his view that he would prefer Finland and Sweden made similar choices.

On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that if Sweden and Finland decide to join, they would be embraced with open arms, The Associated Press reported.

"It's their decision," Stoltenberg said. "But if they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be warmly welcomed, and I expect that process to go quickly."

Stoltenberg further said he's "confident that there are ways to bridge that interim period in a way which is good enough and works for both Finland and Sweden."

Original Article