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Biden heads to Europe to meet with King Charles III, world leaders

NATO summit will follow, with Sweden accession on hold

President Joe Biden's meetings in London will include engagements with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
President Joe Biden's meetings in London will include engagements with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. (Niall Carson/Pool/Getty Images file photo)

President Joe Biden departs for Europe Sunday for a trip that will include his first meeting with King Charles III since his coronation, followed by a NATO summit.

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, told reporters that in addition to engagements with the king at Windsor Castle, and with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Biden will “engage with a forum that will focus on mobilizing climate finance, especially private finance off the sidelines for clean energy deployment and adaptation in developing countries.”

First lady Jill Biden attended the coronation in May. For the president, meeting with the king may be overshadowed by headlines later in the week from Vilnius, Lithuania, where a NATO summit will also include engagements with partner countries.

The trip comes after Biden decided to provide Ukraine with controversial cluster munitions, a type of weaponry banned by many countries. Some Democrats on Capitol Hill called the decision a mistake, saying it undermined U.S. moral authority around the world.

The NATO meeting comes after Finland has joined the alliance, but Sweden’s accession remains on hold because of objections to its membership from Turkey. Speaking to reporters in Washington, Sullivan was optimistic that the situation would ultimately be resolved.

“I think a lot of people’s perceptions about the accession process have been shaped by just how fast we moved to get Sweden and Finland ratified here in the United States on a bipartisan basis,” Sullivan said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, whose term in office is being extended by another year, said Friday that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of Sweden would be meeting on Monday.

“I’m confident that we’ll continue to make progress but there are still gaps to be bridged. And that’s also the reason why I have invited President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Kristersson to meet on Monday, in a few days in Vilnius,” Stoltenberg said at a news conference in Brussels.

Biden has made his solidifying and even expanding the NATO alliance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a key part of his agenda. Both in official settings and on the campaign trail, he’s fond of saying that while Russian President Vladimir Putin may have wanted to see the “Finlandization of NATO” he instead got the “NATOization of Finland” with the traditionally neutral people of Finland deciding to jump into the alliance.

So perhaps it is fitting that Biden will conclude this latest European trip in Helsinki, with Finland playing host to a summit of U.S.-Nordic leaders.

“The president will advance our close cooperation with the Nordic countries on shared regional security objectives, along with shared efforts on the technology, health and climate,” Sullivan said of that final portion of the trip.

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