President says military bloc ‘indispensable’ for world peace while ratifying membership bids from Finland and Sweden
US President Joe Biden has endorsed Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join NATO, saying the new members of the alliance will make it stronger than it has ever been while promising to challenge Russia and “autocrats” which threaten the “Order based on rules.”
Speaking moments before signing the US instrument of ratification of Nordic states’ NATO membership on Tuesday, Biden hailed the US-led military collective, saying it had kept Americans safe. and served as “the basis of our security worldwide.”
“Our alliance is closer than ever. She is more united than ever. And when Finland and Sweden bring the number of allies to 32, we will be stronger than ever. said the president, adding that the two countries “have strong democratic institutions, strong armies and strong and transparent economies” and go “meet all NATO requirements.”
Spurred on by Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, Finland and Sweden decided to join NATO after decades of neutrality, formally applying for membership in May. The bloc responded quickly to those demands, with Washington and other key member states pledging to approve their offers as soon as possible.
Biden directly condemned Russia in his remarks on Tuesday, saying President Vladimir Putin had “shattered peace and security in Europe”. He added that Washington’s commitment to NATO is “more important than it has ever been” at a time when “autocrats challenge the very foundations of a rules-based order,” apparently referring to Moscow’s military action.
While more than 20 of NATO’s 30 members have ratified their membership, Sweden and Finland require the alliance’s unanimous consent to join. Both initially faced fierce resistance from Turkey, but appear to have struck tentative deals to meet Ankara’s terms.
Although Moscow has long expressed concerns about NATO’s eastward expansion – Finland shares an 800-mile border with Russia – President Putin has said that Russia “has no problem” with either country, and does not regard their membership as a “immediate threat”.