United States President Joe Biden has strongly supported Finnish and Swedish NATO candidacieswhose leaders tried to reassure Turkey to prevent it from vetoing its entry into the Atlantic alliance. Biden receives his Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinistö, and Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, at the White Houseto express the “full, total and undivided support of the United States” for these countries’ applications for NATO membership, motivated by russian invasion of ukraine. Although these nations had been hesitant for decades to join the organization, the attack in Moscow caused them to take this historic turn because they felt threatened by the changing security landscape in Europe.
“Finland and Sweden more than meet all the requirements to join NATO. And having two NATO members in the north will make our alliance more secure,” Biden said in a speech alongside Niinistö and Andersson in the White House Rose Garden. The meeting came a day after Finland and Sweden submitted their applications for NATO membership, and hours later Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his opposition to this possibility.
“We are determined to maintain our position, we have informed our friends of this and we will say ‘no’ to Finland and Sweden, who want to join NATO, and we will persist in this policy,” he said. Thursday. Erdogan before an assembly of young people in Istanbul. “We are very concerned about these two countries, especially Sweden, which is a hotbed of terror, a nest of terrorists”insisted the Turkish president, who recalled the rule of unanimity of NATO to add new members.
Any of NATO’s 30 member states has the power to veto any expansion of the Atlantic alliance., and Turkey threatens to do so because it accuses Finland and especially Sweden of maintaining an alleged policy of welcoming Kurdish militants. The White House has expressed confidence that the rest of the allies will be able to convince Turkey to allow the Nordic countries to join the alliance, and Niinistö and Andersson tried to persuade Ankara in their respective speeches alongside Biden.
“We are ready to address any concerns that Turkey may have regarding our membership” in NATOremarked the Finnish president, who was traveling to Washington for the second time since the start of the war in Ukraine. Niinisto he stressed his attachment to “Turkey’s security” and to the fight against terrorism “in all its forms”.
For his part, Andersson said his government was holding talks with Ankara “at different levels, to resolve any issues” that could hinder Sweden’s “rapid” entry into NATO. Erdogan accuses Finland and Sweden of being a sanctuary for Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillasactive in Turkey and recognized by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist, and the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG) militiaswho do not have this consideration.
Support from the US Congress
Convinced that this obstacle will be solved, Biden sent two reports to Congress on Thursday that support Finland’s and Sweden’s requests to join the alliance.. Expanding NATO requires the US Senate to ratify, by a two-thirds majority, the alliance’s founding treaty amendment, which dates back to 1949, and reports submitted by Biden kick-started that process.
The initiative is expected to receive bipartisan support in Congress., and Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell this week expressed a desire for ratification to be completed before the August recess of Congress. “I will be proud to promote the opportunity for NATO membership” of Finland and Sweden, McConnell said in a statement Thursday, before meeting Niinistö and Andersson with the Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer.
Monitoring during the enrollment process
During his speech at the White House, Sweden’s Prime Minister says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marks a ‘turning point’ for her country “after 200 years of military non-alignment”, a position he shared with Finland. “My government has come to the conclusion that the security of the Swedish people will be better protected within NATO,” Andersson said.
Biden, for his part, promised the two leaders that he would remain “vigilant” to “deter and confront any type of aggression as Finland and Sweden are in the process of joining” NATO. Both Helsinki and Stockholm have ruled out a direct military threat against them from Russia, though they fear possible cyber or hybrid attacks, as Moscow warns against any NATO expansion.
“The entry of new members into NATO is not a threat to any nation and never has been”stress Biden in his speech, insisting that the alliance is defensive. Shortly after that meeting at the White House, the US Senate overwhelmingly approved a new package of 40 billion dollars of military and humanitarian aid to Ukrainewhich will begin disbursing as soon as Biden signs the measure in the coming days.
Russian rejection and threat
Russiafor his part, warned this Thursday that will react in a “proportionate” and “adequate” manner if the candidacies of Sweden and Finland are finally successful to the military alliance. “In the first place, on the military level, Russia’s reaction will be proportional and appropriate to the presence of NATO on the territories of these two states, to the type of weapons that will be deployed”, declared the president of the Chamber, without giving further details. details. Top of the Russian Parliament, Valentina Matvienkoin an interview with the local newspaper Izvestia.
According to Matviyenko, the entry of these countries into NATO “will negatively affect” the political state of Europe and will not add “stability” to it, while called the decision ‘non-sovereign’ and argued it was made ‘under pressure from the West’. “They are moving very quickly on such a serious and important issue. They did not even consider it necessary to hold a referendum to ask the opinion of the citizens of these countries,” the Russian leader said.