In the letter to Biden sent on Tuesday, the senators also said that they give their “full support for the United States to provide mutual security guarantees to the governments of Sweden and Finland.”
“Should these two allies face threats or acts of aggression before their potential accession to the alliance, the United States should pledge our full support,” wrote the senators, led by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Thom Tillis, co-chair of the Senate NATO Observatory.
Sweden and Finland simultaneously submitted their applications to NATO on Wednesday, marking a major geopolitical shift spurred by Russia’s war in Ukraine. The two nations had long been partners in the defensive alliance, but were forced by the war to seek formal membership.
On Thursday, Biden met Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in the White House and expressed strong support for their membership.
“The President, the Prime Minister and I have committed ourselves to working together to remain vigilant against the threats to our shared security and to deter and confront all aggression while Finland and Sweden are in this accession process,” Biden said in a statement. after the meeting.
As part of the accession process, NATO is preparing the Accession Protocol to the Washington Treaty – the basic NATO document – which will be sent to each of its NATO members for signature and ratification. In the United States, two-thirds of the Senate must vote to approve the new members.
In their letter, the senators said that they “take (their) role seriously in giving advice and consent to NATO enlargement”, and said that they promised to work with the administration and its senator colleagues to ensure that Finland and Sweden’s applications ” quickly considered and approved by the Senate. “
In a statement to CNN, Shaheen said that “the NATO alliance has proved to be our strongest defense against the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in order not only to help our Ukrainian partners in this dangerous time, but also to enforce global stability and protect democracies around the world. “
The historic actions of Sweden and Finland to join the alliance illustrate how fundamental NATO is for these purposes, “said the New Hampshire Democrat.” Time is of the essence, and the United States must act quickly and encourage our NATO allies to follow quickly. “
All NATO members must unanimously approve new member states. Turkey has stated that it does not currently support NATO membership for Finland and Sweden. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ned Price said last week that the United States remains “confident that Turkey’s concerns will be addressed and that we will be able to reach a consensus as an alliance on the accession process for Finland and Sweden.”