The US President is to meet Sweden’s Prime Minister in a show of support amid resistance from Turkey.
US President Joe Biden will host Sweden’s Prime Minister on Wednesday at the White House to show support for the country’s entry into NATO, a week before the alliance’s summit.
Biden and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson will “review our growing security cooperation and reaffirm their view that Sweden should join NATO as soon as possible,” the White House said a statement announcing the meeting.
Sweden and Finland ended their longstanding policy of military nonalignment after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Both applied for NATO membership, seeking protection under the organisation’s security umbrella.
Finland, which shares a more than 800-mile or 1,300-kilometre border with Russia, joined NATO in April. But Sweden, which has avoided military alliances for more than 200 years, has seen its ascension delayed by Turkey and Hungary.
NATO requires the unanimous approval of all members to expand.
However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has resisted, with his government accusing Sweden of being too lenient towards groups that it says pose a security threat, including militant Kurdish organisations and people associated with a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.
Last week, he condemned Sweden over a Quran-burning protest. Swedish police allowed the protest outside a mosque in central Stockholm, citing freedom of speech after a court overturned a ban on a similar Quran-burning.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he would gather senior officials from Turkey, Sweden and Finland on Thursday to try to overcome Turkey’s objections.
Hungary also has yet to ratify Sweden’s bid. Hungarian lawmakers said a long-delayed parliamentary vote on that would not happen until the autumn legislative session.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has alleged that Swedish politicians have told “blatant lies” about the condition of Hungary’s democracy. High-ranking Hungarian officials have said they support Sweden’s membership bid while also making vague demands from Stockholm as conditions for approval.
Source: Euro News