Sign Accession Support Document Sweden And Finland As NATO Members, President Biden: For Greater Security And Stability
United States President Joe Biden. (Wikimedia Commons/The White House)

JAKARTA - United States President Joe Biden signed a document supporting Washington's accession of Finland and Sweden as members of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Tuesday, marking the alliance's most significant expansion since the 1990s.

President Biden signed the United States' instrument of ratification to welcome the two countries, the final step for their endorsement by the United States.

"It was an important moment, I believe in the alliance and for greater security and stability not only in Europe and the United States but also the world," he said of the two countries' entry into the post-World War Two alliance.

The US Senate backed the expansion 95-1 last week, a rare display of bipartisan unity in a divided Washington. Both Democratic and Republican Senators strongly approved membership for the two Nordic countries, describing them as important allies whose modern militaries have worked closely with NATO.

The vote was in stark contrast to some of the rhetoric in Washington during the administration of former Republican President Donald Trump, who pursued an 'America First' foreign policy and criticized NATO allies for failing to meet defense spending targets.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. Moscow has repeatedly warned the two countries against joining the alliance.

Putin got "exactly what he didn't want," with the two countries entering the alliance, President Biden said.

The 30 NATO members signed accession protocols for Sweden and Finland last month, allowing them to join the nuclear-armed alliance, after all member states ratify the decision.

The accession must be ratified by the parliaments of the 30-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization, before Finland and Sweden can be protected by Article Five, the defense clause that states that an attack on one ally is an attack on all.

Ratification can take up to a year, although accession has been approved by several countries including Canada, Germany and Italy.

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