US President Joe Biden (AFP)
WASHINGTON: President Joe biden will begin his first overseas trip in office in June, the White House is set to announce on Friday, with the aim of demonstrating his administration’s commitment to the transatlantic alliance and re-engagement with key allies.
Biden will attend the Group of Seven Summit in Cornwall, England, set for 11 and 13 June, followed by a visit to Brussels, where he will hold meetings with European Union leadership and attend the June 14 Summit of Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Meetings with closest US allies come when Biden invited the Russian president Vladimir Putin at a summit in the coming months in a third country, although a date has not yet been set.
Most recent American presidents have selected North American neighbors for their first cross-border trips, though former President Donald Trump, whose penchant for unilateral action and open skepticism Born the alliance upset the American allies, made its first overseas stopover in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. For Biden, the first trip is meant to turn the page from Trump’s approach to alliances.
“It is both a hands-on opportunity to connect with allies and key partners on shared opportunities and challenges,” said Yohannes Abraham, Chief of Staff and Executive Secretary of the National Security Council, in an interview with the AP. “But it is also an example of something on which the president has been clear that the transatlantic alliance is back, that revitalizing it is a key priority of his, and that transatlantic relations are a solid foundation on which our collective security and shared prosperity rest. . built. ”
Biden, for his part, held “virtual bilateral” meetings with the leaders of Canada and Mexico in February and March respectively. The June trip will follow Biden’s first in-person bilateral meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House last week and next month’s scheduled visit by South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.
The announcement comes shortly after the conclusion of Biden’s two-day virtual climate summit, in which it received praise from leaders, especially European ones, for the U.S. return to the Paris Climate Agreement and re-engagement on a number of other issues of common interest.
The trip will mark Biden’s most ambitious travel schedule yet since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as the president has sought to model safe behavior for the nation.
It comes as the United States stepped up their travel alerts for much of the world due to the virus. Both the UK and Belgium are listed by the State Department under level four, the highest, “do not travel”, and are subject to specific bans that prevent most travel to the United States by non-citizens.
“There will be components of this journey that are likely to have a different look and feel than in the past because we are taking the health of everyone involved very seriously as we plan it,” Abraham said.
Last month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revoked quarantine guidelines for international travel for those who have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, but still recommend that vaccinated people returning from abroad monitor their symptoms and do a test 3-5 days after returning to the United States.