Biden Travels to Europe; High-Octane Meeting With Russia & Turkey Expected

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday is embarking on his first overseas trip to reconnect with G7, NATO, European Union leaders and will crown his eight-day tour across Europe with a closely watched summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The White House said that the trip with stops in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland will highlight the United States’ commitment to restoring alliances, revitalizing the transatlantic relationship, and working in close cooperation with allies to address global challenges.

On Wednesday, June 9, Air Force One will land at Royal Air Force Mildenhall where Biden will meet with US Air Force personnel. The following day Biden is scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson “to affirm the enduring strength of the special relationship” between both states.

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File Image: Joe Biden

On Friday, June 11, and Saturday, June 12, US President attends the G7 Summit in Cornwall, the group’s first in-person summit in two years.

Ending the pandemic, jumpstarting economic recovery, curbing the climate crisis through global clean energy transition are expected to top the agenda. On Sunday, June 13, Joe Biden and his wife Jill will meet Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle.

On Monday, June 14, Biden will speak at the NATO summit in Brussels.

“I will affirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to Article 5 [NATO’s collective defense clause] and to ensuring our alliance is strong in the face of every challenge, including threats like cyberattacks on our critical infrastructure,” he wrote in an opinion-editorial piece.

According to the White House, NATO leaders will discuss “how to orient the alliance to future threats and ensure effective burden sharing.”

Biden will also meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss “the full range of bilateral and regional issues,” likely including US opposition to Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems.

File:92N6A radar for S-400.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
File Image: S-400 radar

On Tuesday, June 15, while still in Brussels, Biden will meet with the leadership of the European Union. This will be the first US-EU Summit since 2014.

“We will focus on ensuring that market democracies, not China or anyone else, write the 21st-century rules around trade and technology. And we will continue to pursue the goal of a Europe whole, free and at peace,” Biden said.

The leaders will discuss “a common agenda to ensure global health security, stimulate global economic recovery, tackle climate change, enhance digital and trade cooperation, strengthen democracy, and address mutual foreign policy concerns,” the White House said.

US media has also warned of possible thorny issues on the agenda, including the Trump-era steel and aluminum tariffs or disputes over subsidies to Airbus and Boeing.

In Brussels Biden will also meet with King Philippe of Belgium and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

Biden will then travel to Geneva, Switzerland, where he will hold a bilateral summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, June 16.

The US President has said repeatedly he wants a more stable and predictable relationship with Russia, but will not hesitate to respond to what Washington deems are adversarial activities.

“The United States does not seek conflict. We want a stable and predictable relationship where we can work with Russia on issues like strategic stability and arms control,” Biden said.

“At the same time, I have also imposed meaningful consequences for behaviors that violate US sovereignty, including interference in our democratic elections. And President Putin knows that I will not hesitate to respond to future harmful activities,” he added.

Moreover, Biden underscored the importance of having a meeting with Putin after “high-level discussions with friends, partners and allies who see the world through the same lens as the United States, and with whom we have renewed our connections and shared purpose.”

While in Geneva Biden will also meet with Swiss President Guy Parmelin and Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis.