NATIONAL NEWS

Biden: Finland, Sweden have ‘full, total, complete backing’ of US as they seek to join NATO

May 19, 2022, 10:45 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 3:15 pm
U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with the leaders of Finland and Sweden on May 19 as p...
U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with the leaders of Finland and Sweden on May 19 as part of a show of support by the United States after the two nations submitted their formal applications to become NATO members. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images via CNN)
(Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images via CNN)

(CNN) — President Joe Biden on Thursday welcomed the leaders of Finland and Sweden to the White House and said both countries have the “full, total, complete backing” of the U.S. after the two nations submitted their formal applications to become NATO members.

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

The U.S. President said, “The bottom line is simple, quite straightforward: Finland and Sweden make NATO stronger. Not just because of their capacity but because of their strong, strong democracies.”

Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO come in response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, which sparked security concerns across the region. The historically neutral nations’ bids to join the alliance mark a dramatic evolution in European security and geopolitics, and the moves have been met with resistance from Russia and Turkey, a NATO member.

“Let me be clear: New members joining NATO is not a threat to any nation. It never has been. NATO’s purpose is to defend against aggression. That’s its purpose, to defend,” Biden said.

The President argued Russia’s war on Ukraine has made the military alliance “stronger” and “more united,” and said, “Today, there is no question, NATO is relevant. It is effective. And it is more needed now than ever.”

Biden said his administration was submitting reports on NATO accession for both Finland and Sweden so the Senate “can efficiently and quickly move on advising and consenting to the treaty.”

He said Finland and Sweden requesting to join NATO is a “victory for democracy in action,” and said both nations meet all the requirements to join the alliance.

Both Finland and Sweden already meet many of the requirements to be a NATO member, which include having a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; treating minority populations fairly; committing to resolve conflicts peacefully; the ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and committing to democratic civil-military relations and institutions.

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

“Having two new NATO members in the high north will enhance the security of our alliance and deepen our security cooperation across the board,” Biden said.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan on Wednesday called Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the alliance “a watershed moment in European security.”

“Two nations with a long tradition of neutrality will be joining the world’s most powerful defensive alliance, and they will bring with them strong capabilities and a proven track record as security partners,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Finland and Sweden’s entry into NATO would not create a threat to Russia, but the “expansion of military infrastructure into this territory will certainly cause our response.” And the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that Russia “will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a military-technical and other nature, in order to stop the threats to its national security arising in this regard.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week that he would not approve Sweden and Finland’s membership if they sanction Turkey, and that delegations from the nations should not bother coming to Turkey to try to convince that nation to approve their country’s NATO membership.

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

Both Sweden and Finland are both engaged with Turkey regarding its concerns, as well as top U.S. officials, he said.

Biden on Wednesday also seemed optimistic that Turkey would come around.

When asked how he will convince Turkey to support Finland and Sweden’s bids for membership, Biden told reporters, “The leaders of Finland and Sweden are coming to see me on Thursday. I think we’re gonna be OK.”

Thursday’s White House meeting with the two northern European leaders will took place just before Biden is expected to depart for a four-day trip to South Korea and Japan — his first trip to Asia as President.


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

In this aerial view, members of law enforcement investigate a tractor trailer on June 27, 2022 in S...
ERIC GAY and ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press

46 dead, 16 hospitalized after trailer of migrants found

Officials said 46 people have been found dead and 16 others were taken to hospitals with heat-related illnesses after a tractor-trailer rig containing suspected migrants was found Monday on a remote back road in southwest San Antonio.
1 day ago
Los Angeles police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying a suspect who is seen on s...
Natasha Chen and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Police arrest suspect in an unprovoked assault of an Asian man in Los Angeles

Los Angeles police have arrested a suspect in the assault of an Asian man last week, in an attack caught on surveillance video, police said.
1 day ago
Hundreds of protesters marched in Provo for abortion rights....
KEVIN McGILL, AMY FORLITI and GEOFF MULVIHILL Associated Press

Supreme Court’s abortion ruling sets off new court fights

Judges have temporarily blocked abortion bans in Louisiana and Utah, while a federal court in South Carolina said a law sharply restricting the procedure would take effect there immediately.
1 day ago
FILE: Rudy Giuliani (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)...
KAREN MATTHEWS Associated Press

Heckler charged with assault after clapping Rudy Giuliani on the back

A heckler who clapped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the back at a campaign event has been arrested on an assault charge.
1 day ago
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention...
ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

Lawyer who advised Trump says federal agents seized phone

A lawyer who aided former President Donald Trump’s efforts in the 2020 election says that federal agents have seized his cell phone.
1 day ago
Jennifer Crumbley and her husband James Crumbley, parents of the alleged teen Oxford High School sh...
COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press

School shooting suspect may testify at parents’ trial

Lawyers representing the parents of a Michigan teenager charged in a shooting at Oxford High School that left four of his fellow students dead say they plan to call him to testify at the couple’s trial.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Biden: Finland, Sweden have ‘full, total, complete backing’ of US as they seek to join NATO