Politics

Biden signs ratification documents approving Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership

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US President Joe Biden, Swedens Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finlands President Sauli Niinistö arrive to speak in the Rose Garden following a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 19, 2022.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden signed ratification documents on Tuesday bringing Finland and Sweden one step closer to joining the NATO alliance.

“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin thought he could break us apart,” Biden said. “Our alliance is closer than ever, it is more united than ever and after Finland and Sweden join we will be stronger than ever,” he added.

Last week, the Senate voted 95 to 1 to ratify Finland and Sweden’s entrance into the world’s most powerful military alliance.

In May, both nations began the formal process of applying to NATO amid the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Moscow, long wary of NATO expansion, has opposed the two nations’ plans to join the alliance.

Both Finland and Sweden already meet many of the requirements to be NATO members. Some of the requirements include having a functioning democratic political system, a willingness to provide economic transparency and the ability to make military contributions to NATO missions.

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“They will meet every NATO requirement, we are confident of that,” Biden said.

Biden welcomed leaders from both countries to the White House in May and pledged to work with the Senate — which had to sign off on U.S. approval of NATO bids — and the other 29 members of the alliance to swiftly bring Sweden and Finland into the group.

At the time Biden, flanked by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, said the two countries would “make NATO stronger.” He called their moves to join the pact a “victory for democracy.”

US President Joe Biden, flanked by Swedens Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finlands President Sauli Niinistö, speaks in the Rose Garden following a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 19, 2022.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

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After Biden’s signature, the governments of the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey will still need to sign the instruments of ratification by the end of September.

“I urge the remaining allies to complete the ratification process as quickly as possible,” Biden said.

In June, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the leaders of the alliance had reached a deal to admit Finland and Sweden after resolving the concerns of holdout Turkey.

Previously, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would not approve the applications, citing their support for Kurdish organizations that Turkey considers security threats.



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