On Monday, 10 July, United States President Joseph Biden arrived at London’s Stansted Airport before heading on to Winfield House. The “President will have his sixth meeting in six months with Prime Minister Sunak as part of our close coordination with the United Kingdom on a range of important issues,” said Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, on-board Air Force One, on Sunday.
Last month, on 8 June, the UK Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, Rishi Sunak, and President Biden held a rare, joint press conference from the East Room of the White House, after holding a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, making this week’s London meeting, the sixth between the two leaders since Prime Minister Sunak came into Office in October 2022. They had a bilateral meeting in Bali on the margins of the G20 last November, then in San Diego in March for the AUKUS partnership and in April in Belfast during POTUS’ trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Prime Minister Sunak says he values his relationship with President Biden. Preceding his bilateral on 8 June, Prime Minister Sunak said, “The U.S. is our closest ally. We are one another’s partner of first resort when it comes to everything from keeping our people safe to growing our economies…That’s why it is so important for a U.K. prime minister to forge a close and candid relationship with the President of the United States—on every global problem, you will see us working side-by-side.”
Also, during Mr Biden’s flight to London, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said President Biden will “have the chance to sit with King Charles and also to participate with the King and with Secretary Kerry—Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry – in an event with private sector leaders that’s really focused on how we bring private capital off the sidelines in service of our climate objectives: the deployment of clean energy, the mitigation of carbon emissions, and help developing countries in adapting to the impacts of climate change.”
London is Mr Biden’s first stop on his trip to Europe. His travel includes the UK, Lithuania, and Finland from 9-13 July.
On board Air Force One – and en route to London – Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan briefed the press travelling with President Biden. During the flight to London, Senior Administration officials revealed that, while on the flight, President Biden had a call with “President Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan of Türkiye in advance of the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania” and that they will talk further on the sidelines of NATO. On the call, they discussed Ukraine and Mr Biden’s “desire to welcome Sweden into NATO as soon as possible.”
The team travelling with President Biden to London include US Department of State’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.
While Vice President Kamala Harris remained in Washington, D.C. over the weekend with no public events scheduled, President Biden was at the beach, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware prior to leaving for London. At the beach, PREMIUM TIMES can confirm that reporters saw Mr Biden as he “walked solo out toward the water near North Shores beach” on Saturday morning. The same afternoon, he also went to a late afternoon mass at St. Edmond’s Catholic Church. As expected, he left from there on Sunday morning and took off from Dover Air Force Base headed to London.
On Monday,10 July, President Biden will take part in engagements with King Charles III and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak “to further strengthen the close relationship between our nations,” announced the White House over the weekend. The Biden Administration confirmed that “The President will meet with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom. The President will take part in a Ceremonial Arrival and Inspection of the Honor Guard with His Majesty King Charles III at Windsor Castle. The President will meet with His Majesty King Charles III. The President will take part in a climate engagement with His Majesty King Charles III and philanthropists and investors.”
After his UK engagements, President Biden will leave for Vilnius, Lithuania where on Tuesday, 11 July, he will “participate in a bilateral meeting with the President of Lithuania Gitanas Nausėda.” He is expected to take part in a bilateral meeting with President Nausėda and in “an official greeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, President Nausėda of Lithuania, and “attend the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of Heads of State and Government, with Sweden,” and also take part in the 74th NATO Summit engagements, the White House said.
On Wednesday, 12 July, it is expected that President Biden “will deliver remarks highlighting how the United States, alongside our allies and partners, are supporting Ukraine, defending democratic values, and taking action to address global challenges” before departing for Helsinki, Finland where he will have a “bilateral meeting with President Sauli Niinistö of the Republic of Finland.” Finland will be Mr Biden’s “final stop on the trip, Senior Director for Europe Amanda Sloat and Ambassador Julianne Smith, US Permanent Representative to NATO told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday.
Ambassador Smith said, “We will be addressing Ukraine’s membership aspirations, and that is something that NATO Allies continue to work on. But it is not just restating Bucharest. It will look different than what we said in 2008, and we’ll have more to say on that when we get to the summit.” She added, “We’ll have a handful of cyber security deliverables where the Alliance is moving out on strengthening its ability to either deter or prevent or respond to future cyber-attacks. And then secondly, I would mention that for the second time in NATO’s history, we have the four leaders of the Indo-Pacific partners coming to the summit – our friends from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the Republic of Korea. They will be present in Vilnius, which is fantastic to have them present for this historic summit. And then lastly, we will see where we are on Sweden.”
Mr Biden is expected to return to Washington on Thursday after taking part in U.S.- Nordic Leaders’ Summit engagements.
Mr Biden will end the week on Friday, at “Camp David where he will remain over the weekend.”
Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based White House Correspondent, and media commentator with expertise on U.S. foreign policy, and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.Donate
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999