The United States President Joe Biden will host Sweden Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finland President Sauli Niinistö at the White House for a meeting on Thursday, 19 May, amid their push to join North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as Russia continues its war on Ukraine.
The White House has stated that the two countries' applications to join the mutual defense alliance will be discussed, news agency AP reported.
The meeting is scheduled to take place before the POTUS leaves Washington for a four-day trip to South Korea and Japan.
While the alliance has appreciated the requests by the long-neutral nations to join NATO, Turkey has declared its opposition to the proposal.
Turkey's Actions Raise Concerns in Washington and Brussels
Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Finland and Sweden had earlier imposed restrictions on defence sales to Turkey that were "unacceptable".
However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that it was his understaning that Turkey does not intend to block the two countries' membership and only wanted its concerns addressed.
Meanwhile, Turkey's actions have raised concerns in Washington and Brussels, who worry that other NATO members "might also use the admission process to wring concessions from allies", which could complicate and delay accession.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has already spoken with Çavuşoğlu and will see him again on Wednesday in New York, on the sidelines of a special UN Security Council meeting. Blinken is optimistic that all NATO members would support Finland and Sweden's bids.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said that the administration was "very confident" that the members would reach an agreement for the two countries to join the alliance.
All 30 NATO members must unanimously agree for the two countries to join the alliance.
Turkey had become a NATO member along with Greece, as part of the alliance's second expansion in 1952.