The United States (US) Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve the accession of Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on Wednesday, with the resolution gaining the support of ninety-five senators.
The single dissenting vote came from Republican Senator, Josh Hawley of Missouri, who argued that there should be less focus on security in Europe and much more on the threat from China.
US President, Joe Biden has strongly supported the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO and referred the matter to the Senate for consideration back in July.
The vote in Washington followed a vote in France’s National Assembly earlier on Wednesday, in which two hundred and nine (209) deputies voted in favour of Finnish and Swedish membership, while forty-six (46) voted against.
The Senate, the second chamber of the French parliament, voted to approve the accession a fortnight ago.
Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Until now, Finland and Sweden have been close partners, but not members, of the Western defence alliance.
Before the accession rules can enter into force, Finland and Sweden must be ratified by all thirty NATO member States, two-thirds of which have already given their approval for the new members, NAN reports.