US President Joe Biden will host Sweden’s Prime Minister and Finland’s President on Thursday at the White House, in a major show of support days after the two countries announced they would seek to join the nato.
Leaders are expected to discuss Finland and Sweden’s requests for NATO membership, European security and support for Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
Both countries are looking to join the military alliance after Russia’s attack on Ukraine sparked new security concerns across the region. His historic attempts to join NATO represent a dramatic evolution in European security and geopolitics.
The United States and other alliance leaders expressed support for Finland and Sweden joining the military alliance. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the country would “strongly support” his NATO applications.
Both Finland and Sweden already meet many of the requirements for membership in the alliance, which include 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 make a military contribution to NATO operations; and commit to democratic civil-military relations and institutions.
But the measure was met with resistance by Russia and Turkey. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO would not create a threat to Russia, but the “expansion of military infrastructure in this territory will certainly cause our response”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Russia “will be forced to take retaliatory measures, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to prevent threats to its national security that arise in this regard.” .
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said this week that he would not approve of Sweden and Finland joining NATO and that delegations from nations should not bother going to Turkey to try to convince their government to approve membership.
The meeting takes place on the same day that the president is due to leave for Seoul, South Korea, for his first trip to Asia as president. Biden is also scheduled to go to Japan during the trip.
The four-day trip to Asia is intended to underscore Biden’s commitment to the region, even with international attention focused on the Ukraine crisis. But it also comes as Biden seeks to keep the US and its allies united against Russia’s unprovoked war in Ukraine amid mounting civilian casualties and intensifying fighting.
Countries will present their candidacy to NATO on Wednesday (18)
Finland and Sweden will submit their application to NATO on Wednesday, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said during a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö in Stockholm.
“Democracy won,” Niinistö said.
“This entire spring has been a triumph for democracy in Finland,” he said, referring to the overwhelming support that the Finnish candidacy for the alliance received today in parliament and the support among the Finnish people.
“Sweden also hopes to cooperate with Turkey within NATO,” Andersson said, referring to the Turkish president’s comments against the countries joining the military bloc.
*with input from CNN’s Per Bergfors Nyberg
Source: CNN Brasil