ISSN 2330-717X

Johnson Welcomes Biden As Two Leaders Hold Bilateral Talks Ahead Of G7 Summit

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(RFE/RL) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has formally welcomed U.S. President Joe Biden for their first face-to-face talks ahead of the Group of Seven (G7) summit.

Johnson and his wife, Carrie, greeted Biden and first lady Jill at the Cornish seaside resort of Carbis Bay, England, where the G7 summit will open on June 11.

Biden said on Twitter on June 10 that he looked forward to “affirming the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom and discussing how we’ll tackle our shared challenges together in the years ahead.”

Biden and Johnson are set to issue a new version of the Atlantic Charter, which was originally agreed by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, setting out postwar goals for democracy, trade, and opportunity.

The new charter “encompasses science, technology and trade” and “underscores our joint commitment to NATO,” Johnson wrote in an article released ahead of his meeting with Biden.

The meeting kicks off a packed agenda for the U.S. president, whose trip culminates in Geneva on June 16 with the face-to-face meeting with Putin amid escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow.

Biden kicked off his first official visit abroad on June 10 by making clear his intention to strengthen ties with U.S. allies to defend democracy and a warning to Russia against “harmful” activities.

Addressing U.S. Air Force personnel stationed at a British air base, Biden said he would deliver a clear message to Putin when they meet for bilateral talks next week following separate summits with the G7, NATO, and European leaders.

“We’re not seeking conflict with Russia,” the Democratic president said at the start of his eight-day visit to Europe.

“We want a stable and predictable relationship…but I’ve been clear: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities.”

One of Biden’s goals during the three-day G7 meeting starting on June 11 is to continue repairing relations with traditional U.S. allies that were damaged under former President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy. Biden will also hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of the other G7 countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Those meetings in Cornwall, southwestern England, will focus on U.S. policy priorities such as the economy, unity among the allies, turning the corner on the pandemic, and pulling the world out of an economic slump sparked by the pandemic.

Building a foundation around those goals “will be the most effective way to show the rest of the world that the United States has the power and purpose to be able to deliver as the world’s leading democracy,” White House national-security adviser Jake Sullivan has said.

Biden is scheduled to meet with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle outside London before heading on to Brussels for talks with NATO and EU leaders on June 14-15.

Sullivan said both the G7 and the NATO meetings will discuss cyberattacks and how to speak with one voice to countries, including Russia, that are harboring or permitting cybercriminals to operate from their territory.

The White House has said Biden plans to discuss Ukraine during his summit with Putin. Russia seized the Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2014 and Kremlin-backed separatists took control of a chunk of eastern Ukraine the same year.

The Biden administration has also criticized Russia for the arrest and jailing of opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and publicly acknowledged that it has low to moderate confidence that Russian agents were offering bounties to the Taliban to attack U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Biden will also discuss the diversion last month by Belarus, Russia’s close ally, of a Ryanair passenger plane that led to the detention of an opposition activist.

Biden will aim to be clear about where the relationship stands and try to identify areas of potential cooperation, Sullivan said, noting that after nearly a week of intensive consultations with allies and democratic partners from both Europe and the Indo-Pacific, Biden will “go into this meeting with the wind at his back.”

RFE RL

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

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