Biden, Sunak meet at 10 Downing Street


The President of the USA, Joe Biden, paid a visit to the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday before joining the NATO summit on Tuesday.

The meeting follows just over a month after the two leaders met in the White House in Washington.

As Biden entered 10 Downing Street, he said the ties between his country and the United Kingdom were “rock solid”. Biden and Sunak have met regularly in the past few months, as the British leader tries to repair ties that have become much tighter due to the stormy reigns of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.

Biden, who has Irish ancestry, is seen as at the heart of tensions between the countries over the UK’s tussle with the European Union (EU) over trade in Northern Ireland after Brexit. In the run-up to the summit, there were also differences of opinion over the US supplying cluster bombs to Ukraine, with other Western allies also expressing concern.

Biden said the decision to send the weapons was “very difficult”, but Ukrainian forces were running out of ammunition. However, the decision raised concerns about the danger posed by unexploded bombs to the civilian population.

Sunak did not attack the US directly, but emphasized that the UK is one of 120 signatories to an international agreement banning the use and supply of cluster bombs.

“We will continue to do our part to support Ukraine against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion,” Sunak said.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday rejected any rift between the two leaders and in NATO, saying Biden and Sunak are “strategically on the same page on Ukraine”.

NATO summit

Leaders who are part of Nato are meeting in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius on Tuesday and Wednesday where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski hopes to exert pressure so that Ukraine can join the alliance.

Western allies agree that Ukraine cannot join while the war rages, as it would put NATO in direct conflict with Russia.

Although the US has already supplied weapons to Ukraine, he is particularly hesitant about the country’s intended membership of NATO. Biden has also described Ukraine’s request for this as “premature”.

“I don’t think it (Ukraine) is ready for NATO membership,” he told CNN.

Before Biden travels to Finland, NATO’s youngest member, he will first pay a visit to Britain’s King Charles III to discuss climate issues. Although it is not an official state visit, Biden will receive a royal salute at Windsor and the American national anthem will be played.

Top financiers and philanthropists are also meeting at Windsor Castle to discuss how to support developing countries to reduce their carbon emissions.

The UK government has said that more than $1 trillion is needed by 2030 to help developing economies get on track to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.