US President Joe Biden.
PHOTO: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Ima
- Joe Biden welcomed the leaders of Finland and Sweden in a strong show of support for their attempts to join NATO.
- The three leaders are expected to speak to reporters after the Oval Office talks.
- All 30 current NATO members would have to agree to the offers from Sweden and Finland.
US President Joe Biden welcomed the leaders of Finland and Sweden on Thursday in a strong show of support for their attempts to join NATO in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
With the pomp of a red carpet and a military honor guard, Biden hosted Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto just days after they officially announced they would seek to join the US-backed alliance. .
The three leaders are expected to speak to reporters after the Oval Office talks.
Sweden and Finland, while solidly Western, have historically kept their distance from NATO as part of longstanding policies aimed at avoiding angering Russia.
But the two nations moved forward amid shock over the invasion of Ukraine by their giant neighbor, which had tried unsuccessfully to join NATO.
Biden said Wednesday that he “strongly” supported Sweden and Finland’s membership in the alliance, which he views as an attack on one member as an attack on all.
“While their applications for NATO membership are being considered, the United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threat to our shared security and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression,” it said in a statement.
In the United States, it is up to the Senate to ratify the treaties and there is broad support for membership from Sweden and Finland, with votes likely before a NATO summit next month in Madrid.
But Turkey has expressed doubts about the two countries’ membership, accusing them of supporting “terrorism” due to the presence of Kurdish militants.
All 30 current NATO members would have to agree to the offers from Sweden and Finland.
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