President Joe Biden met with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Wednesday to demonstrate his support for Sweden’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in advance of next week’s high-profile NATO summit in Lithuania.
Due to Turkey and Hungary’s objections, Sweden’s attempt to join the alliance has been thwarted.
Joe Biden, however, emphasized the United States’ support for its membership alongside Kristersson at the White House.
Joe Biden stated that Sweden is a capable and dedicated partner, adding that the United States fully, completely, fully supports Sweden’s NATO membership. The bottom line is straightforward: Sweden will strengthen our alliance.
Kristersson remarked that Sweden and the United States share a number of priorities, chief among them being the defense of Ukraine against Russia. Kristersson expressed gratitude for the United States’ support of Sweden’s NATO candidacy.
In the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in May 2022, two countries that once took pride in their neutrality announced their desire to join NATO.
Sweden’s Path To NATO Membership
To date, only Finland has been admitted, in large part due to Turkey’s opposition to Sweden. (Adding a country to NATO requires the support of every member of the alliance.)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan initially used the bids to challenge Sweden for granting asylum to members of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has conducted a protracted insurgency in Turkey and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.
Recent protests against Erdogan in Sweden, including the burning of a Quran, have further strained relations.
Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that the Joe Biden administration remained confident that Sweden would be admitted to NATO and has urged Turkey and Hungary to quickly approve the country’s application.
She stated that Sweden has met its obligations under the agreement with Turkey and Finland from the previous year.