Biden speaks to leaders of Finland, Sweden about NATO membership

President Biden on Friday spoke with the leaders of Finland and Sweden and said he would support a decision by each country to join NATO, the White House said. 

“President Biden underscored his support for NATO’s Open Door policy and for the right of Finland and Sweden to decide their own future, foreign policy, and security arrangements,” the White House said in a readout of the secure call between Biden, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö.  

“The leaders also discussed the close partnership among our countries across a range of global issues, based on our common values and interests,” the readout of the 40-minute call said. “They reiterated their shared commitment to continued coordination in support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people affected by the war.” 

The call comes as both countries are weighing membership in NATO amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

Niinistö in a joint statement with the country’s prime minister this week called for Finland to apply for membership “without delay.” Sweden is also expected to follow suit in the coming days.  

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Saturday with the foreign ministers of Sweden, Finland and NATO members in Berlin, where the officials are likely to lay the groundwork for the countries joining the alliance.  

The White House has previously voiced support for both countries joining the alliance.  

“The United States would support a NATO application by Finland and/or Sweden should they choose to apply,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday. “We, of course, will respect whatever decision they make. Both Finland and Sweden are close and valued defense partners of the United States and of NATO.”  

The developments have angered Russia, with Moscow vowing to take “retaliatory steps” should Finland go through with plans to join NATO.  

Tags Antony Blinken Biden Finland Jen Psaki Joe Biden Magdalena Andersson NATO Sauli Niinistö Sweden Ukraine

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