Joe Biden to host leaders of Sweden and Finland following Nato applications

Russia has threatened consequences for the two Nordic countries if they abandon their Cold War-era neutrality

Nato headquarters in Brussels. Finland and Sweden are trying to join the alliance over Russia's war in Ukraine. Photo: AP
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US President Joe Biden will on Thursday host Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden and President Sauli Niinisto of Finland at the White House.

“The leaders will discuss Finland’s and Sweden’s Nato applications and European security, as well as strengthening our close partnerships across a range of global issues and support for Ukraine,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The Finnish parliament was expected to hold a vote on Tuesday on a proposal to apply for Nato membership.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde signed her nation’s application to Nato on Tuesday, a day after the country announced it would seek membership of the alliance.

The move comes in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Russia has threatened consequences for Finland and Sweden if they abandon their Cold War-era neutrality and join Nato.

Finland will defend itself “to the last Finn” if it is invaded by Russia, the country’s head of military policy has told The National.

Sweden and Finland's requests to join Nato have been widely lauded within the alliance though Turkey has expressed reservations.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Berlin that Finland and Sweden had imposed restrictions on defence sales to Turkey that were “unacceptable.”

But Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said his understanding is that Turkey wants to have its concerns over Finland and Sweden addressed but does not intend to block their membership.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has spoken with Mr Çavuşoğlu, will see him again on the margins of a special UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday in New York. He has voiced optimism that all Nato members would support bids from Finland and Sweden.

Updated: May 17, 2022, 2:24 PM