US president visits London ahead of NATO summit
The American president arrived Sunday evening, July 9 in the United Kingdom, where he will be received this Monday, July 10 by King Charles III. He will also meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, before travelling to Lithuania to attend the NATO summit on Tuesday 11 and Wednesday 12 July in Vilnius.
US President Joe Biden disembarks from Air Force One during his visit to the United Kingdom, at Stansted Airport, Britain, July 9, 2023. © Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Text by: RFI Follow
With our correspondent in London, Emeline Vin
The tone should be rather tense between Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak this Monday, July 10. The two leaders, who are meeting for the fifth time in five months, met just a month ago to discuss artificial intelligence and bilateral cooperation. However, the United States has since approved the sending of cluster bombs to Ukraine, the use of which British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak "discourages".
The British government sees this as undermining international solidarity with the Ukrainian war effort. In addition, the current British Minister of Defence, Ben Wallace, had to withdraw his candidacy for NATO command, in the face – among other things – of the lack of American support.
A damaged relationship
Tensions therefore, as the two countries try to restore the "special relationship" between them, damaged by Brexit, by Donald Trump and by Joe Biden's enthusiasm to recall his Irish origins, former British colony.
Who says state visit also says visit to Charles III. Joe Biden did not attend the Coronation in May. Even if the king is above politics, he is a fine diplomat, who could do much for repairing the relationship.
The stakes of Joe Biden's visit to Europe
Joe Biden begins a busy European tour. The US president is this Monday, July 10 in London, before going to Vilnius and Helsinki. The main issue of this visit is the NATO summit in Lithuania.
With our correspondent in New York, Loubna Anaki
Officially, for Joe Biden, this trip aims to show the unity of the United States and its allies. "You have to show the determination to support Kiev," said Jake Sullivan, one of the US president's security advisers.
For two days, in Vilnius, Joe Biden is to meet with NATO members and give a speech. But he will likely have to answer questions from allies, including about Washington's decision last week to send cluster bombs to Kiev. A weapon banned by more than two-thirds of the members of the alliance.
The US president will also have to show diplomacy and succeed in the exercise of showing unwavering support for the Ukrainians while maintaining the refusal of Kiev's entry into NATO, in the immediate future. This while Volodymyr Zelensky would like NATO to formulate an official invitation quickly.
Joe Biden's challenge on this trip will be to stand firm while giving concrete encouragement to future membership.
THE WORLD IN QUESTION – NATO: WHAT IS AT STAKE IN THE RUN-UP TO THE VILNIUS SUMMIT?
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- United Kingdom
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