Finland and Sweden’s applications to join NATO marks a “watershed moment in European security,” according to Jake Sullivan, US President Biden’s top national security adviser, who said the countries’ leaders would “compare notes” on the move when they visit the White House on Thursday.
“This is a historic event, a watershed moment in European security,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House. “Two nations with a long tradition of neutrality will be joining the world’s most powerful defensive alliance, and they will bring with them strong capabilities and a proven track record as security partners.”
Biden said on Wednesday, “I think we’re going to be OK,” when asked by reporters how he will convince Turkey to support Finland and Sweden’s bids to join NATO.
“The leaders of Finland and Sweden are coming to see me on Thursday. I think we’re gonna be okay,” Biden said.
When reporters followed up again asking if he could convince Turkey, Biden said: “I’m not going to Turkey, but I think we’re gonna be okay.”
Meanwhile, the White House said it is “confident” that Finland and Sweden’s applications for membership to NATO will be approved, despite concerns from member country Turkey. All 30 NATO members must give unanimous approval for a country to be accepted into the alliance.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said this week that he would not approve Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership if they sanction Turkey and that delegations from the nations should not bother coming to Turkey to try to convince that nation to approve their country’s NATO membership.
But Sweden and Finland are both engaged with Turkey regarding its concerns, as well as top US officials, Sullivan said, and there is confidence that the expansion can progress.
“We’re confident that at the end of the day, Finland and Sweden will have an effective and efficient accession process, that Turkey’s concerns can be addressed,” Sullivan told reporters at the White House.
Sullivan said he spoke with his Turkish counterpart Wednesday and that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken would also be meeting with his counterpart in New York, and that the administration feels “very good” about the process.
Pressed again, he later suggested that Turkey would eventually come around in a display of unity.
“The great thing about the free world, about the Western alliance about NATO is that you’ve got a raucous collection of states that all have opinions, that all have perspectives that all have interests, but they also know how to and when to pull together and how to settle any differences. And I expect these differences will be settled. I expect that NATO will speak with one voice in support of Finland and Sweden at the end of the day,” the Biden adviser said.