The United States Senate has authorized the accession of Sweden and Finland into NATO, strongly supporting the transatlantic alliance's expansion in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Wednesday, the Senate voted 95-1 in favor of the membership of the two Nordic countries, making the United States the 23rd of the 30 NATO nations to formally join it, after Italy and France did so earlier in the day.
President Joe Biden stated, following the vote, that it sends an important signal of the United States' continued bipartisan commitment to NATO.
He continued, "I look forward to signing the accession protocols and welcoming Sweden and Finland,"
The only opponent was the Republican Josh Hawley, who claimed that the United States must prioritize the protection of its country but that Washington should also prioritize the threat posed by China rather than Europe.
Senator Rand Paul, a Republican, voted "present" instead of supporting or opposing the measure.
Security guarantees to Türkiye
All thirty North Atlantic Treaty Organization members must approve the admission of Finland and Sweden, which are formally nonaligned but have been longtime allies.
A NATO list indicates that the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and Turkey have not yet formally accepted membership.
Turkey has created a challenge, requiring Finland and Sweden to compromise to support their memberships.
Turkey, Sweden, and Finland have signed a trilateral memorandum of agreement involving the extradition of YPG/PKK terrorists seeking asylum in the Nordic nations.
Stockholm and Helsinki also vowed under the accord not to provide any assistance to the PKK and its offshoots.
However, the internationally recognized terrorist organization members have continued to demonstrate support in Swedish cities.
Turkey has warned that it will not approve Nordic nations' NATO membership applications until all agreement provisions are met.
Turkey announced on July 21 that a special committee would meet with officials from Finland and Sweden in August to see if the two nations comply with its criteria.