Biden says the US fully backs Sweden and Finland’s Nato bids

By Rek Hanibal Published on May 20, 2022
Biden says the US fully backs Sweden and Finland’s Nato bids

Both countries submitted their applications to be part of the Western defence alliance this week, marking a significant shift in European geopolitics.

To join the alliance, the two nations need the support of all 30 Nato member states.

But the move by the Nordic nations has been opposed by Turkey.

Speaking alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto at the White House on Thursday, Mr Biden called Sweden and Finland's applications "a watershed moment in European security".

"New members joining Nato is not a threat to any nation," he said. The president added that having two new members in the "high north." would "enhance the security of our allies and deepen our security cooperation across the board".

Russia has repeatedly said it sees Nato as a threat and has warned of "consequences" if the block proceeds with its expansion plans.

Turkey has accused both Sweden and Finland of hosting suspected militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a group it views as a terrorist organisation.

However, both Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and British Defence Minister Ben Wallace have expressed confidence that these concerns will eventually be addressed.

Mr Biden's comments came as the US Senate voted to approve a new $40bn (£32bn) bill to provide military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. It is the biggest emergency aid package so far for Ukraine.

The bill - which was passed by the House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support on 10 May - was expected to be passed earlier this week, but was blocked by Kentucky Republican Rand Paul over a dispute about spending oversight.

But the Republican's Senate leader Mitch McConnell dismissed these concerns and told reporters that Congress had a "moral responsibility" to support "a sovereign democracy's self-defence".

"Anyone concerned about the cost of supporting a Ukrainian victory should consider the much larger cost should Ukraine lose," Mr McConnell said.

Last week, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Congress to approve the package and warned that the US military only had enough funds to send weapons to Kyiv until 19 May.

 

Rek Hanibal

Rek Hanibal

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