President Joe Biden will host the Swedish prime minister at the White House on Wednesday in a show of solidarity as the US presses the Nordic country to join NATO.
HO CHI MINH CITY — President Joe Biden plans to receive Sweden’s prime minister at the White House on Wednesday in a show of solidarity as the United States presses the Nordic nation to join NATO, a week before the alliance’s summit.
Biden and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson will “review our growing security cooperation and reaffirm their position that Sweden should join NATO as soon as possible,” the White House said in a statement. about meeting. The leaders will also discuss the war in Ukraine and issues related to China.
Sweden and neighboring Finland ended their longstanding policy of military non-alignment after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Both signed up for NATO membership, seeking protection under the umbrella. organization’s security.
Finland, which shares a border of more than 800 miles or 1,300 kilometers with Russia, joined NATO in April. But Sweden, which has avoided military alliance for more than 200 years, has seen its advancement delayed by Türkiye and Hungary; NATO requires the unanimous approval of all members for expansion.
NATO had hoped Sweden’s path to membership would be smooth ahead of the alliance’s summit on July 11-12 in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital. Sweden’s accession will be a moment of symbolic power and the latest sign of how Russia’s war is pushing countries to join the alliance. Those hopes have faded.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has protested, with his government accusing Sweden of being too lenient towards groups it says pose a security threat, including Kurdish militant organizations. and those involved in the 2016 coup plot in Turkey.
Last week, he condemned Sweden for the Koran burning protest. Swedish police allowed the protest outside a mosque in central Stockholm, citing freedom of expression after a court rescinded a similar ban on the burning of the Quran.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he would gather senior officials from Turkey, Sweden and Finland on Thursday to try to overcome Turkish objections.
Hungary has not yet approved the Swedish bid. Hungarian lawmakers said a long-delayed parliamentary vote would not take place until the autumn legislative session.
The government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has accused Swedish politicians of telling “blatant lies” about the state of Hungarian democracy. Senior Hungarian officials said they supported Sweden’s membership while also making vague requests from Stockholm as a condition of approval.