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Biden says Finland, Sweden ‘meet every NATO requirement’ as leaders visit US

US President Joe Biden with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, left, and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, right, after speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, May 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
US President Joe Biden with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, left, and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, right, after speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, May 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden hails the “momentous” applications of once-neutral Sweden and Finland to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the three countries work to address continued opposition from Turkey for the two to join the alliance.

Biden greeted Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinistö of Finland at the White House with handshakes and laughter as they meet today for trilateral conversations on the NATO mutual defense pact as well as broader European security concerns. His administration has professed optimism for their applications to join the alliance, which would mark a significant embarrassment to Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

“Today I’m proud to welcome and offer the strong support in 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 says after escorting his fellow leaders to the Rose Garden.

“They meet every NATO requirement and then some,” he says, and “having two new NATO members in the high north will enhance the security of our alliance.”

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