Biden formalizes US support for Finland and Sweden’s entry into NATO

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden formally welcomed Finland and Sweden to join the NATO alliance Tuesday as he signed the instruments of ratification giving formal U.S. backing to the Nordic nations’ entry into the mutual defense pact, part of a reshaping of the European security position. after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“By seeking membership in NATO, Finland and Sweden make a sacred commitment that an attack on one is an attack on all,” Biden said at the signing, calling the partnership the “indispensable alliance.”

The United States became the 23rd ally to approve NATO membership for the two countries. Biden said he spoke with the leaders of both nations before signing the ratification and urged the remaining NATO members to complete their own ratification process “as soon as possible.”

The Senate last week approved the two once-nonaligned nations joining the alliance in a rare 95-1 vote that Biden said shows the world that “the United States can still do great things” with a sense of political unity.

The countries sought NATO membership earlier this year to guarantee their security in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offensive in Ukraine. North Atlantic Treaty Organization rules require consent from all of its 30 existing members before Finland and Sweden can officially join the alliance, which is expected in the coming months.

The candidacies of the two wealthy northern European nations have won ratification from more than half of NATO member nations in the roughly three months since the two applied. It marks one of the fastest expansions of the mutual defense pact between the United States and democratic allies in Europe in its 73-year history.

US government and defense officials view the two countries as net “security providers”, strengthening NATO’s defense position in the Baltics in particular. Finland is expected to exceed NATO’s defense spending target of 2% of gross domestic product by 2022, and Sweden has committed to meeting the 2% target.

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