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Biden: US to Help Finland & Sweden 'Deter, Confront Any Threats' as Their NATO Bids Being Considered

© Photo : Twitter / USAF-AFAFRICAUS Air Force F-16C and F-16D fighters assigned with the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, arrive in Kallax, Sweden on 17 May to support the Arctic Challenge Exercise 21 drills.
US Air Force F-16C and F-16D fighters assigned with the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, arrive in Kallax, Sweden on 17 May to support the Arctic Challenge Exercise 21 drills. - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.05.2022
The Nordic nations formally filed bids for NATO membership earlier on Wednesday. Ankara has threatened to block their entry amid a spat with Stockholm and Helsinki over their harbouring of independence and autonomy-seeking Turkish Kurdish groups, whom Turkey considers "terrorists".
US President Joe Biden "warmly" welcomed the Swedish and Finnish bids for membership in NATO on Wednesday, promising to "work with" the countries to deter threats while their applications were being processed.

"I warmly welcome and strongly support the historic applications from Finland and Sweden for membership in NATO and look forward to working with the US Congress and our NATO allies to quickly bring Finland and Sweden into the strongest defensive alliance in history", Biden said in a prepared statement released by the White House on Wednesday.

Praising the pair of Nordic nations as "longtime, stalwart partners" of the United States, Biden assured that "by joining NATO, they will further strengthen our defence cooperation and benefit the entire Transatlantic Alliance", including via drills and a "presence in the Baltic Sea region".

"While their applications for NATO membership are being considered, the United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression", Biden added.

The president is set to meet with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Washington, DC on Thursday to discuss their NATO applications and the current security situation in Europe.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends the Russian-Ukrainian talks at the Dolmabahce Palace, in Istanbul, Turkey - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.05.2022
FT: Turkey Blocks Negotiations on Finland and Sweden's NATO Entry
Turkey has threatened to block the countries' bids to join the bloc, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his allies issuing a series of statements this week to the effect that Stockholm and Helsinki be kept in the "waiting room" until substantive issues between them are resolved. The disagreement revolves around the harbouring of Kurds allegedly linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Ankara designates as a "terrorist" organisation, in both countries.
Other issues, including US sanctions against Turkey over its purchase of a Russian-made air defence system, are also reportedly on the table as far as Ankara is concerned.
"We will always support the alliance and allied spirit. But we cannot say 'yes' to every proposal, we cannot say 'yes' to an alliance with those countries that support terrorists who threaten Turkey's security", Erdogan said at a meeting of the governing Justice and Development Party on Wednesday.
A few hundred protesters gather during a demonstration against a possible NATO membership of Sweden outside the ruling Social Democrats party's office in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 14, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.05.2022
Swedish Party Demands Law Against Nuclear Weapons Ahead of NATO Negotiations
Sweden and Finland announced plans to push for NATO membership shortly after Russia began its military operation in Ukraine in February, breaking with many years (and in Sweden's case centuries) of neutrality and non-involvement in large-scale conflicts in Europe.
Russia has warned that the Nordic nations' membership in the Western bloc will not contribute to regional security, and on the contrary, constitute a "mistake with far-reaching implications".
A masked Kurdish man waves a PKK's flag  - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.05.2022
Sweden's Ruling Party Accused of 'Giving In' to Turkey's Demands By Labelling PKK Terrorists
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