“Today I am proud to welcome the United States and offer strong support for the applications of two great democracies and two close, highly capable partners to join the strongest, most powerful defensive alliance in the history of the United States. world,” Biden said. as he stood next to Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
The US president said: “The bottom line is it’s simple, very clear: Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger. Not just because of their capacity, but because of their strong, strong democracies.”
“Let me be clear: new members joining NATO are not a threat to any nation. It never has been. NATO’s goal is to defend against aggression. That is its goal, to defend,” Biden said. .
The president argued that Russia’s war against Ukraine has made the military alliance “stronger” and “more united”, saying: “Today NATO is relevant. It is effective. And it is needed now more than ever.”
Biden said his administration was submitting reports on NATO accession for both Finland and Sweden so that the Senate can “continue to advise and approve the treaty efficiently and quickly”.
He said Finland and Sweden applying to join NATO is a “victory for democracy in action”, and said both countries meet all the requirements to join the alliance.
Both Finland and Sweden already fulfill many of the requirements to be NATO members, including having a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; treating minority populations fairly; work to resolve conflicts peacefully; the ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and to promote democratic civil-military relations and institutions.
All 30 NATO members must unanimously approve a country’s entry into the alliance.
“Having two new NATO members in the far north will improve the security of our alliance and deepen our security cooperation across the board,” Biden said.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday called Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the alliance “a turning point in European security”.
“Two countries with a long tradition of neutrality will join the world’s most powerful defensive alliance, and they will bring strong capabilities and a proven track record as security partners,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO would pose no threat to Russia, but that “expansion of military infrastructure into this area will certainly trigger our response”. And Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that Russia “will be forced to take retaliatory measures, both military-technical and otherwise, to stop the threats to its national security posed in this regard.” call”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week that he would not approve Sweden and Finland’s membership if they impose sanctions on Turkey, and that nations’ delegations should not bother coming to Turkey to convince that country to join NATO. -approve of their country’s membership.
Sullivan said on Wednesday the White House is “confident” that applications for NATO membership will be approved, despite Turkey’s concerns.
Both Sweden and Finland are both involved with Turkey over its concerns, as are senior US officials, he said.
Biden also seemed optimistic on Wednesday that Turkey would come.
When asked how he will convince Turkey to support Finland and Sweden’s membership, Biden told reporters: “The leaders of Finland and Sweden are coming to me on Thursday. I think we’ll be fine.”
Thursday’s White House meeting with the two Northern European leaders will take place just before Biden is expected to leave for a four-day trip to South Korea and Japan – his first trip to Asia as president.
Kevin Liptak, Betsy Klein and Sam Fossum of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.