Finland and Sweden have the “full, total and complete support” of the US.


(CNN)– President Joe Biden welcomed the leaders of Finland and Sweden to the White House on Thursday, saying both countries have the “full, complete and complete support” of the United States after the two nations submitted their formal requests to become in NATO members.


“Today, I am proud to welcome and offer the United States’ strong support for the requests of two great democracies and two close and highly capable partners to join the strongest and most powerful defensive alliance in the history of the world,” he said. Biden while standing with Finnish President Sauli Niinist√∂ and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

US President Joe Biden, flanked by Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finland’s President Sauli Niinist√∂, speak in the Rose Garden following a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC on May 19, 2022.

“The bottom line is simple, quite simple: Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger. Not just because of their capabilities, but because of their strong democracies,” the US president said.

The Swedish and Finnish bids for NATO membership come in response to Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has sparked security concerns across the region. Their applications to join the alliance mark an impressive evolution in European security and geopolitics.

Both Finland and Sweden already meet many of the requirements for NATO membership, including having a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; treat minority populations fairly; commit to resolving conflicts peacefully; the ability and willingness to contribute militarily to NATO operations; and commit to maintaining democratic civil and military relations and institutions.

All 30 NATO members must give their unanimous approval for a country to be accepted into the alliance.

Barriers to Swedish and Finnish admission to NATO

But while many NATO members have voiced support for Finland and Sweden joining the alliance, the move has been met with resistance from NATO member Russia and Turkey.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Finnish and Swedish NATO membership would not pose a threat to Russia, but the “expansion of the military infrastructure on this territory will certainly provoke our response.” And the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement also Monday that the country “will be forced to take retaliatory measures, both of a military-technical and other nature, to stop threats to its national security arising from this regard.”

For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week that he would not approve the entry of Sweden and Finland if they sanction Turkey, and that delegations from these nations should not bother coming to Turkey to try to convince them to approve your country’s entry into NATO.

Sullivan said Wednesday that the White House is “confident” that NATO applications will be approved, despite Turkey’s concerns.

Both Sweden and Finland are in contact with Turkey regarding their concerns, as well as with senior US officials, he said.

This Wednesday, Biden was also optimistic about the possibility of Turkey reconsidering.

Asked how he would convince Turkey to support Finnish and Swedish membership applications, Biden told reporters: “The leaders of Finland and Sweden are coming to see me on Thursday. I think we’re going to be fine.”

Thursday’s meeting at the White House with the two northern European leaders comes just before Biden leaves for a four-day trip to South Korea and Japan, his first trip to Asia as president.

— CNN’s Kate Sullivan, Kevin Liptak, Betsy Klein and Sam Fossum contributed to this report.



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