G-7, NATO meetings in UK, Europe part of Joe Biden’s maiden official overseas visit


File image of US President Joe Biden | Samuel Corum | Bloomberg


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Washington, DC: US President Joe Biden is scheduled to leave on his maiden official overseas trip during which he will hold discussions with top global leaders, including at the G-7 summit in the UK and the NATO meetings, on issues such as the impact of COVID-19, security challenges and drawdown of forces from Afghanistan, a top official said.

Biden will leave for the UK on Wednesday and then visit Brussels and Geneva as part of the trip that ends next week.

The visits, at its core, will advance the fundamental thrust of Joe Biden’s foreign policy to rally the world’s democracies, to tackle the great challenges of the time, US National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan told reporters at the White House on Monday.

We believe that President Biden goes on this trip from a position of strength. Dramatic progress against the pandemic at home, strong projected growth that will help power the global economic recovery as well, renewed American power and purpose and a rock-solid foundation of alliances that will serve as force multipliers for our global agenda, the NSA said.

At the G-7, Sullivan said Biden will join with his fellow leaders to lay out a plan to end the COVID-19 pandemic with further specific commitments towards that end. He will also join his fellow leaders to announce a new initiative to provide financing for physical, digital and health infrastructure in the developing a high standard, climate friendly, transparent and rules-based alternative to what China is offering, Sullivan said.

He and the other leaders will endorse a global minimum tax of at least 15 per cent as you saw coming out of the G-7 finance minister’s meeting a few days ago. The G-7 leaders will make a number of significant commitments on climate, on labour standards, on anti-corruption and on ransomware, he said. In Brussels, Biden would be attending NATO meetings and US-EU summits.

On NATO, President Biden will address enduring security challenges that have been at the core of the alliance for a long-time including Russia and coordinating the remaining period of the drawdown of the forces from Afghanistan. But they will also focus on emerging security challenges to the alliance critically including cyber and the challenge posed by China, Sullivan said.

He said that Biden will also reinforce the importance of burden sharing.

Not just the two percent commitment that allies made back in 2014 at the Wales Summit, but the need for allies to give not just cash but contributions to exercises and to operations that NATO is undertaking and to have the kinds of capabilities to make sure that NATO is a full spectrum alliance with allies across the board providing the kind of high-end capabilities NATO requires, Sullivan asserted.

At the US-EU Summit the president and European Union leaders will focus on aligning their approaches to trade and technology so that democracies and not anyone else, not China or other autocracies, are writing the rules for trade and technology for the 21st Century, said the top White House official on national security.

Biden will also have a series of bilateral engagements including a US-UK Summit with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson where the two leaders will reaffirm the special relationship and update and upgrade it for the modern era.

And we will have further announcements about additional bilateral engagements that they will have both in Cornwall and at Brussels in the days ahead. After his time at the G-7, at NATO and at the US-EU Summit, Biden will go to Geneva to meet with his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin, Sullivan said.

He will do so, of course, after having had nearly a week of intensive consultations with allies and democratic partners from both Europe and the Indo-Pacific. So, he will go into this meeting with the wind at his back, he said.

The US has made clear repeatedly that it does not regard a meeting with the Russian president as a reward.

We regard it as a vital part of defending America’s interests and America’s values. Joe Biden is not meeting with Vladimir Putin despite our countries’ differences. He’s meeting with him because of our countries’ differences. There is simply a lot we have to work through, Sullivan said.

We believe that President Biden is the most effective, direct communicator of American values and priorities and we believe that hearing directly from President Putin is the most effective way to understand what Russia intends and plans. There is never any substitute for leader-to-leader engagement particularly for complex relationships but with Putin this is exponentially the case, he said.

He has a highly personalized style of decision making and so it is important for President Biden to be able to sit down with him face to face, to be clear about where we are, to understand where he is, to try to manage our differences and to identify those areas where we can work in America’s interest to make progress, he said.

Sullivan said when Biden returns to Washington next week, the United States will be in a materially stronger position to manage the major threats and challenges this country faces–COVID, climate, China, cyber, Russia and shaping the rules of trade and technology for the future. — PTI


Also read: As Biden announces US, NATO troop pullout from Afghanistan, experts flag concerns for India


 

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