The President of the United States, Joe Biden, and the leaders of the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark) held a highly symbolic summit in Finland on Thursday to show Russia the strength of NATO.
The meeting took place in the “Hall of Mirrors” of the Finnish Presidential Palace, a high-ceilinged room with a chandelier in the centre, where the leaders were seated at a horseshoe-shaped table, headed by Biden and the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, who acted as host.
Five years ago, in this same room, former US President Donald Trump (2017-2021) met with his counterpart, Vladimir Putin. That was the last time a U.S. leader dressed in Helsinki
Biden, with the flags of the Nordic countries in the background instead of Russia’s, stressed the “values” of freedom and equality that unite the United States and the Nordic countries.
“The nations at this table not only share a common history, but we also share the same challenges,” Biden said.
In this regard, the US president stressed the “historic” nature of the NATO summit, which concluded on Wednesday in the Lithuanian city of Vilnius after two days of meetings and in which Finland participated for the first time as a full member.
Moreover, a day before the summit, Turkey announced that it would lift its veto on Sweden’s NATO candidacy, so that country could soon follow in Finland’s footsteps.
Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometre border with Russia, became NATO’s 31st member in April this year.
Both Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, an event that changed public opinion in both countries and led them to abandon the neutrality they had maintained for three decades.
The US has played an important role in the process of Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership, and Sweden’s own minister, Ulf Kristersson, made reference to the constant contact he has had in recent weeks with Biden, joking.
“I actually see him more than I see my own family. And I love it,” Kristersson said with a laugh.
In fact, Kristersson met with Biden on 5 July at the White House, and the two spent the last two days together in Vilnius during the NATO summit, only to meet again in Finland.
Summit host Niinisto also exchanged some pleasantries with Biden, but set a more solemn tone to the event by stating that the sole objective of the summit between the US and Nordic leaders is to “secure the future” in terms of security, the environment and technology.
The leaders have several issues on the table. One of the main ones is Russia, NATO and the war in Ukraine, but they also plan to address artificial intelligence, climate change and critical mineral collaboration, used in solar panels and electric vehicle batteries.
This is the third summit in history between the US and the leaders of the Nordic countries. The most recent took place in 2016, when then-president Barack Obama (2008-2017) hosted the leaders of these nations at the White House.
Source : Atalayar