President Biden on Monday voiced his support for Finland and Sweden applying to join the NATO alliance and said he would work with Congress and other member nations to “quickly” approve their membership.
“Sweden and Finland have made the important decision to seek NATO membership after thorough and inclusive democratic processes in each country,” Biden said in a statement.
The alliance has become a focal point of international discussion in the months since Russia invaded Ukraine. Article 5 of the NATO treaty states that an attack on one member will be interpreted as an attack on all members, providing some protection for neighboring nations of Ukraine such as Poland.
Others in the region, including Sweden and Finland, have pushed to join the alliance in hopes of providing a stronger defense against the threat of Russian aggression should Moscow choose to expand its offensive.
Both countries have announced in recent days that they are seeking NATO membership, and Biden will host Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at the White House on Thursday to discuss the issue.
“NATO guarantees the security of 1 billion people in Europe and North America — united by our shared commitment to democratic principles and our vision of peace and prosperity in Europe and around the world. And my commitment to NATO and Article 5 is ironclad,” Biden said.
“While their applications for NATO membership are being considered, the United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression,” the president added, calling the two nations “stalwart partners of the United States.”
The administration is trying to assuage concerns from Turkey, another NATO member that has objected to Sweden and Finland seeking membership in the alliance.
Source: The Hill