MADRID: Amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, US President Joe Biden on Thursday (local time) said that the decision of Sweden and Finland to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would enhance the collective strength of the alliance and make it stronger and more secure.
Taking to Twitter, Biden said, "The NATO Alliance is proud to invite Finland and Sweden to become members. Their decision to join this Alliance is going to make us stronger and more secure - it will bolster the steps we're taking during this summit to enhance our collective strength."
As the NATO summit began in Madrid amid the raging conflict in Ukraine, Biden, addressing the summit alongside NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, declared new troop movements, equipment shipments, and military installations.
"The United States and our allies are stepping up and proving that NATO is needed now more than ever, and is as important as it ever has been," Biden was quoted as saying by CNN. Biden also said the US plans to establish a permanent headquarters for the Fifth Army Corps in Poland and maintain an additional rotational brigade of 3,000 troops in Romania.
Besides this, Washington will also enhance rotational deployments to the Baltic States, send additional F-35 fighter jet squadrons to the UK, and station additional air defence and other capabilities in Germany and Italy.
"Together with our allies, we are going to make sure that NATO is ready to meet threats from all directions across every domain, land, air, and sea," Biden said, adding that the US is also going to enhance its rotational deployments in the Baltic states, as well as increase the number of destroyers based at the Rota naval base in Spain to six.
Biden has also announced Washington's plan to build up air defence capabilities in Germany and Italy. The NATO summit began in Madrid on Tuesday, allowing the western military alliance to show a joint front against Moscow, and start the process of Finland and Sweden's inclusion in the alliance.
This summit comes as Turkey lifted its veto over Finland and Sweden's bid to join NATO, ending a dispute that tested the unity of the alliance. This deal signals a significant shift in security dynamics in Europe as the Nordic countries abandon their decades-long neutrality to enter the military alliance.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on Tuesday said that Turkey has agreed to support Finland and Sweden's NATO membership bids, removing the main hurdle to the two countries joining the alliance.
Niintso said that a joint memorandum on the matter was signed by Turkey, Finland, and Sweden in Madrid. The joint memorandum underscores the commitment of Finland, Sweden, and Turkey "to extend their full support against threats to each other's security," Niinisto said.
Stoltenberg said he is "confident" that Finland and Sweden will be able to successfully join NATO after the signing of the trilateral memorandum of understanding. The ongoing NATO summit in Madrid has already become one of the most consequential meetings in the history of the military alliance.