The United States assured Sweden it would receive support as a possible NATO application is being reviewed by the 30 members of the alliance, Foreign Minister Ann Linde said in Washington Wednesday.
Although Sweden and Finland weren’t members of NATO during Cold War II, their neighbor Finland was. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and its annexation have caused them to reevaluate their security policies, and NATO membership seems more likely.
Both countries worry that they might be exposed during the application process. All NATO members could take up to a year to approve.
Linde stated that after meeting U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken Linde felt “Naturally, I’m not going to go into any details, but I feel very sure that now we have an American Guarantee.”
She also stated that there are no security guarantees, and that they are available only to NATO full members.
Linde refused to reveal the assurances she received from Blinken.
She said that Russia could make it clear that they will not permit any negative activities against Sweden to be directed as they threatened.
After the meeting, the U.S. State Department released a statement stating that Blinken had reiterated Washington’s commitment towards NATO’s policy to welcome new members countries. However, it did not address security assurances.
The defense minister of Sweden stated last month that a Russian application could result in a range of responses. This includes cyber attacks as well as hybrid measures like propaganda campaigns to undermine Sweden’s security.
Moscow warned it that it could use nuclear weapons in Europe’s Kaliningrad exclave and hypersonic missiles if Sweden or Finland joined NATO.
Linde will travel to Canada to meet Canadian officials and discuss security issues. Linde stated that the United States strongly supports Sweden and Finland joining NATO. This would increase stability in the Baltic and Arctic regions.
Finland and Sweden will decide this month whether to apply for NATO membership.
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