President Biden on Thursday offered full-throated support for Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join NATO, arguing that the addition of the two nations would strengthen the alliance.
Biden sought to project confidence that both countries would be accepted into the alliance, despite vocal objections from Turkey, which is also a NATO member.
Earlier in the day: Thursday morning, Biden met with Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö.
The president “warmly welcomed their applications for NATO membership, which will strengthen our collective security,” the White House said in a readout of the call.
“At this historic moment for both Finland and Sweden, the President underscored his commitment to support both countries as they seek formal NATO accession, including by working with NATO Allies and Congress to welcome them into the Alliance as quickly as possible,” the readout continued.
What Biden said: “Sweden and Finland have strong democratic institutions, strong militaries, and strong and transparent economies, and a strong and moral sense of what is right,” Biden said following a meeting at the White House with the leaders of both countries. “They meet every NATO requirement and then some.”
“Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger,” the president said. “And a strong, united NATO is the foundation of America’s security.”
Addressing Turkey’s objections: Turkey’s objection stems from accusations that both countries harbor members of the Kurdistan’s Workers Party, a separatist group that is also known as the PKK. The group is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the U.S.
Both Niinistö and Andersson said Thursday that their countries were working directly to address Turkey’s concerns.
Biden administration officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan, have also been engaging with their Turkish counterparts.
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