WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding NATO and forces deploying from Kentucky:
“Speaking of America’s national interest, our delegation also visited what we hope and expect will soon be the two newest members of the NATO alliance.
“We arrived in Stockholm and Helsinki just as the leaders of Sweden and Finland announced their nations will seek to join the alliance that has secured peace in Europe for more than 73 years.
“It was an honor to have robust discussions with Prime Minister Andersson, Defense Minister Hultqvist, and key Parliamentary leaders in Stockholm; and President Niinisto, Prime Minister Marin, Defense Minister Kaikkonen, and Parliamentary leaders in Helsinki.
“I gave them my assurance as Senate Republican Leader that I fully support both Finland’s and Sweden’s accession. I will do all I can to speed treaty ratification through the Senate.
“Finland and Sweden are impressive and capable countries, with military capabilities that surpass many existing NATO allies. As new members, they would more than pull their weight.
“These two nations’ geographical locations are strategic. They have well-equipped and professional armed forces. Their military and high-tech industrial bases are robust. There is already significant interoperability that connects their defenses and NATO’s.
“I will have much more to say on this subject in the days and weeks ahead. Finland and Sweden would make NATO even stronger than it stands today.
“Finally, it must be noted that our delegation was not the most important group of Americans shipping out to stand with our friends in Europe. Not by a long shot.
“There are 100,000 American soldiers currently stationed in Europe to bolster the peace and shore up NATO. This includes the Kentucky-based V Corps.
“And we received word just last week that 4,700 members of the 101st Airborne from Kentucky’s Ft. Campbell will also travel to Europe in the coming months. The ‘Screaming Eagles’ have a long history of defending America’s national security interests in Europe.
“I’m proud of these brave men and women for being ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. I am proud America can make this peaceful contribution to our allies’ sovereignty and strength in Europe.
“And I am proud of the entire the Fort Campbell community for keeping these men and women well prepared for this mission.”
SOURCE Mitch McConnell