President Joe Biden expressed U.S. support for Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance during a news conference on Thursday.
“Today I am proud to welcome and offer the strong support of the United States for the application of two great democracies. And two close, highly-capable partners to join the strongest, most powerful defensive alliance in the history of the world,” said Biden.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson joined Biden for the announcement at the White House’s Rose Garden.
The official applications, handed over by Finland’s and Sweden’s ambassadors to NATO, set a security clock ticking. Russia, whose war on Ukraine spurred them to join the military organization, has warned that it wouldn’t welcome such a move, and could respond.
For now though, the application must be weighed by the 30 member countries. That process is expected to take about two weeks, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has expressed reservations about Finland and Sweden joining.
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