WASHINGTON (AP) — Flanked by the leaders of Finland and Sweden, President Joe Biden forcefully supported their applications to join NATO on Thursday as Russia’s war in the heart of Europe challenges the continent’s security. The U.S. president rejected Turkey’s opposition, insisting the two countries “meet every NATO requirement and then some.”
Biden walked to a White House Rose Garden appearance with his hands on the shoulders of Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinistö of Finland in a meeting designed to emphasize U.S. backing of their NATO candidacies.
The firm show of support was targeted not only at Russia, but also Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who earlier emphasized his opposition to the two countries joining the military alliance. Erdogan’s new comments added to uncertainty about whether he is determined to derail the expansion, which needs the unanimous support of all 30 NATO members, or whether he is using the threat to gain concessions from the two nations as well as the United States.