Biden says Sweden, Finland have full US support for NATO bids

US President Joe Biden, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson and Finnish President Sauli Ninistিস্ত arrived at the Rose Garden on May 19, 2022, after a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC.

Mandel Engan | AFP | Getty Images

Washington President Joe Biden said Thursday that the United States fully supports Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO after both countries begin the formal process of applying for the alliance.

Biden, who has sided with Finnish President Sauli Ninistটো and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson, said the two countries would strengthen NATO. He called the move a “victory for democracy.”

The president has promised to work with Congress – which must approve NATO bid US approval – and bring the other 29 members of the world’s most powerful military alliance, Sweden and Finland, into the group quickly.

“There is no question, NATO is relevant, it is effective and it is needed more than ever,” Biden said after a tripartite meeting with leaders in Washington.

The shock comes as Russia’s attack on Ukraine raises fears for other countries in the region. Moscow has long warned of NATO expansion and opposed the two countries’ plans to join the alliance.

Earlier in the week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO and the expansion of military infrastructure in the region would certainly provoke our reaction.

Similarly, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that Russia “will be forced to take retaliatory measures, both military-technical and of other nature, to stop its national security threats arising in this regard.”

Both Finland and Sweden already meet many requirements for NATO membership. These include an effective democratic political system, the desire to provide economic transparency, and the ability to make military contributions to NATO missions.

However, in order for the alliance to be accepted, the 30 members of NATO must approve a country’s bid.

Earlier in the week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would not approve NATO requests from both Sweden and Finland. He noted their support for Kurdish organizations, which Turkey considers a security threat.

He added that delegations from other countries should not be bothered to come to Turkey to try to persuade him otherwise.

Both Ninisto and Anderson voiced Erdogan’s concerns during comments at the White House Rose Garden.

“We take terrorism seriously, and we condemn all forms of terrorism,” Ninisto said.

Anderson said Sweden is in talks with all NATO member states and is in additional talks with Turkey to address specific concerns.

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