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Sweden to join NATO soon, Joe Biden promises | NATO News

“It will happen,” the U.S. president said, stressing the transatlantic alliance’s commitment to support Ukraine.

Washington DC – US President Joe Biden said he believed Sweden would join NATO “as soon as possible” despite Turkey and Hungary continuing to prevent the Nordic countries from joining.

Biden, speaking at the U.S. Air Force Academy graduation ceremony on Thursday, praised NATO’s solidarity during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“NATO is more vibrant and united than it has been in decades. With our newest ally, Finland – and soon Sweden – joining the alliance as soon as possible, it is stronger now. It will happen. I assure you,” the U.S. the president said.

His remarks came days after U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urged Turkey to approve Sweden’s NATO membership.

“From a U.S. perspective, now is the time to finalize Sweden’s entry,” Blinken told reporters in the northern Swedish city of Luleå on Tuesday.

The senior U.S. diplomat also expressed hope that the process can be completed before the NATO summit in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius in July.

NATO countries need to approve new members. The US-led bloc has a collective defense agreement – known as Article 5 – which states that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on the entire alliance.

Sweden and neighboring Finland began seeking to join NATO last year following Russia’s all-out invasion of Ukraine. Finland officially joined the alliance in April, but Sweden’s application is still pending.

Hungary and Turkey have yet to ratify Sweden’s accession, but Ankara is seen as a major hurdle. Turkey has accused Sweden of providing a safe haven for members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Turkey considers a “terrorist” group.

Sweden said it was addressing Turkey’s concerns under a tripartite memorandum signed between the two countries, as well as Finland, last year.

On Thursday, as NATO foreign ministers met in Norway, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted to his Swedish counterpart: “Fulfill your commitments in the trilateral memorandum , and take concrete steps to combat terrorism. The rest will follow.”

Biden said earlier this week that he raised the issue in a call with newly re-elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I congratulate Erdogan. He still wants to do some research on the F-16. I told him we want a deal with Sweden, so let’s get it done,” Biden told reporters on Monday, referring to the Ankara pushed to finalize a $20 billion deal for US-made F-16 fighter jets.

Biden made no mention of Turkey when he offered Sweden to join NATO on Thursday. But he stressed that the alliance would remain united in responding to the Ukrainian invasion, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin believed NATO was “broken”.

The US president also reiterated his pledge to support Ukraine against the invasion. Washington has provided Kiev with billions of dollars in humanitarian and military aid since the war started last year.

“The United States has rallied the world to stand with Ukraine in defense of the values ​​the American people hold so dear — freedom, sovereignty, democracy and simple dignity,” Biden said.

“The support of the American people for Ukraine will not waver.”

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