SHARE
COPY LINK

NATO

Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson meets President Biden on US visit

US President Joe Biden on Thursday welcomed the leaders of Finland and Sweden in a strong show of support for their bids to join Nato in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson meets President Biden on US visit
US President Joe Biden (C) welcomes Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (L) and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to the White House in Washington, DC, on May 19, 2022. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP

To the pomp of a red carpet and military honor guard, Biden received Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto just days after they officially said they would seek to join the US-backed alliance.

The three leaders are expected to speak to reporters after talks in the Oval Office.

Sweden and Finland, while solidly Western, have historically kept a distance from Nato as part of longstanding policies aimed at avoiding angering Russia.

But the two nations both moved ahead amid shock over their giant neighbor’s invasion of Ukraine, which had unsuccessfully sought to join Nato.

Biden on Wednesday said he “strongly” supported the membership of Sweden and Finland in the alliance, which considers an attack on one member an attack on all.

“While their applications for Nato membership are being considered, the United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression,” he said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden welcomes Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (R) and Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto to the White House on May 19, 2022. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

In the United States it is up to the Senate to ratify treaties and there is wide support for the membership of Sweden and Finland, with votes likely before a Nato summit next month in Madrid.

But Turkey has voiced misgivings about the membership of the two countries, accusing them of supporting “terrorism” due to the presence of Kurdish militants.

All 30 current members of Nato would need to agree to the Swedish and Finnish bids.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

NATO

Erdogan signals no progress on Sweden’s NATO bid

Erdogan signalled on Saturday that no progress had been made in Sweden's bid to join NATO, urging Stockholm to take "concrete actions" to meet Ankara's concerns, his office said.

Erdogan signals no progress on Sweden's NATO bid

In a phone call with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Erdogan reiterated that “Sweden should take steps regarding such fundamental matters as combatting terrorism”, the Turkish presidency said in a statement.

Turkey “wanted to see binding commitments on these issues together with concrete and clear action,” he added.

Finland and Sweden discussed their stalled NATO bids with Turkey in Brussels on Monday, but Ankara dampened hopes that their dispute will be resolved before an alliance summit next week.

Turkish officials said Ankara does not view the summit as a final deadline for resolving Ankara’s objections. Ankara has accused Finland and in particular Sweden of providing a safe haven for outlawed Kurdish militants whose decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Erdogan told Andersson that Sweden “should make concrete changes in its attitude” toward the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliates, the presidency said.

“In this regard no tangible action aimed at addressing Turkey’s concerns was seen to have been taken by Sweden”, it added.

READ ALSO: Hopes fade for Sweden’s swift Nato accession

The Turkish leader also voiced expectations that Sweden would lift an arms embargo against Turkey that Stockholm imposed in 2019 over Ankara’s military offensive in Syria.

He also said he hopes that restrictions on Turkey’s defence industry would be lifted, and that Sweden will extradite several people Ankara has accused of involvement in terrorism.

The phone call comes after Erdogan discussed the two countries’ bid with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. Erdogan also told Stoltenberg that “Sweden and Finland should take concrete and sincere steps” against outlawed Kurdish militants, the presidency said.

SHOW COMMENTS