‘Choreography’ of Finland, Sweden NATO entry ‘not our main concern,’ White House says

President Joe Biden wants both Finland and Sweden in NATO and is more focused on both countries joining the alliance, a spokesman said.

By Reuters - March 3, 2023
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A view of the flags of Finland, NATO and Sweden during a ceremony to mark Sweden’s and Finland’s application for membership in Brussels, Belgium, on May 18, 2022. (Johanna Geron / Pool / Reuters File Photo)

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden wants both Finland and Sweden in NATO and is more focused on both countries joining rather than them doing so at the same time, the White House said on Thursday.

“Finland and Sweden are going to be great NATO allies,” said John Kirby, a spokesperson for the White House’s national security team, at a briefing for reporters when asked if Biden would support allowing Finland into NATO before Sweden.

“As for your second question on the choreography, what matters to us is that both nations become NATO allies. The Texas ‘two step’ that goes into doing that … that’s not our main concern.”

Sweden and Finland applied last year to join the defense alliance due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The countries have said they want to join NATO together.

Hungary and Turkey are the only NATO members to not yet have ratified the bids.

On Wednesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party said it would back the ratification, as lawmakers in the Central European country began the process after a months-long delay.

Reporting by Steve Holland and Trevor Hunnicutt.


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