U.S. President Joe Biden embarked on a whirlwind visit to Britain on Monday, emphasizing the enduring bond between the two nations. Arriving in the country, Joe Biden praised the “rock-solid” friendship between Washington and its close ally before engaging in discussions with King Charles, as well as finance chiefs, to address the urgent matter of combatting climate change.
Joe Biden’s arrival in Britain marked the beginning of a three-nation tour that will also encompass the NATO summit in Lithuania. This gathering aims to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s invasion, although formal acceptance of Kyiv as an alliance member remains pending.
During their fifth meeting in as many months, President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak convened for a brief conversation, mainly focusing on the situation in Ukraine. Seated in the garden of Sunak’s Downing Street office, the leaders exchanged thoughts and expressed their commitment to the issue.
“We’ve got a lot to talk about,” Joe Biden remarked, underlining the unwavering strength of the bilateral relationship. “Our relationship is rock-solid. Couldn’t be meeting with a closer friend and a greater ally.”
Prior to the NATO summit, Sunak and Biden took the opportunity to synchronize their strategies. Biden, however, urged caution regarding Ukraine’s aspirations to join the alliance, emphasizing the need for cooperation among the U.S., its allies, and Ukraine. Sunak’s spokesperson echoed this sentiment, stating that it would not be appropriate for Ukraine to seek membership while the conflict persisted.
In addition, the leaders discussed the United States’ decision to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions, a controversial topic given their ban by more than 100 countries, including Britain. These munitions are viewed as posing a potential threat to civilian populations due to their release of numerous smaller bomblets that can cause indiscriminate harm. Sunak’s spokesperson reiterated Britain’s commitment to discouraging their use and affirmed their adherence to international conventions.
Following their meeting, the 80-year-old President Biden made his way to Windsor Castle, where he was welcomed with customary pomp and ceremony in the castle quadrangle. Skipping the king’s coronation in May, in accordance with longstanding tradition for U.S. presidents, Biden greeted the 74-year-old monarch warmly before engaging with banking executives, financiers, and philanthropists. The purpose of their discussion centered around identifying avenues for increased private investment to combat the pressing issue of climate change.
Notable attendees at this gathering included COP28 President-Designate Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, as well as chief executives from renowned institutions such as HSBC, NatWest, Blackrock, Lloyds of London, and Allianz Holdings.