Photograph: Joshua Roberts / Reuters
Joe Biden will make his first overseas trip as UK president, attending the G7 summit in Cornwall in June before traveling to Brussels, the White House confirmed.
The announcement is considered a victory by British diplomats, although the UK hosting Biden’s first presidential venture overseas is partly dependent on luck in holding the G7 presidency in its first year in office.
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“It was clear from the start that the G7 would be its first trip as part of its emphasis on re-establishing relationships with partners and of course the G7 works for that,” a British official said. “Until now we weren’t sure if it would be the first, or if he would take a short trip to a neighboring country before June.”
The official announcement covers the events of the G7 leaders during the summit from 11-13 June. These will be followed by NATO and EU summits in Brussels from June 14, but the White House said “potential additional elements” could be made public later, and those should include other stops in the UK, perhaps including a meeting. with the queen.
Biden and his foreign policy team began his presidency with skepticism about Boris Johnson, whom they saw as a close ally of Donald Trump and a driving force behind Brexit, viewed by Biden’s camp as an obstacle to Western cohesion. British diplomats in Washington focused on what the new leaders have in common, especially a commitment to tackle the climate crisis.
The mood could still worsen ahead of the Cornish summit, particularly if the violence continues in Northern Ireland. Biden will hold Johnson responsible for any damage Brexit did to the Good Friday peace deal. The administration is also vaguely looking at Johnson’s decision to cut overseas aid and there will be pressure from Washington to rethink that decision before June.
The White House said the trip to the UK and Belgium “will highlight its commitment to restoring our alliances, revitalizing transatlantic relations and working closely with our allies and multilateral partners to address global challenges and protect better the interests of America “.
The dominant theme of the Cornish Summit, from the US and UK perspective, will be discussing a strategy for the democratic world to address the challenges posed by Russia and China. This theme will also be the basis of the NATO and EU meetings in Brussels.
Not mentioned in the White House announcement is the possibility of a summit meeting with Vladimir Putin. Biden has invited the Russian leader to meet in Europe and White House and Kremlin officials are discussing the possibility, according to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
But so far there has been no agreement on whether, when and where to hold what is likely to be a tense bout.