Islam News ــ U.S. President Joe Biden has kicked off his first official visit abroad by making clear his intention to strengthen ties with allies to defend democracy and a warning to Russia against “harmful” activities.
Addressing U.S. Air Force personnel stationed at a British airbase late on June 9, Biden said he would deliver a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet for bilateral talks next week following separate summits with the Group of Seven (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.”
Biden will meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson later on June 10 to reaffirm the “special relationship” between Washington and London after Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The sides are set to issue a new version of the Atlantic Charter that was originally agreed by Winston Churchill and Franklin 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.
“This is my first overseas trip as president of the United States. I’m heading to the G7, then the NATO ministerial, and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know,” he said after touching down at Royal Air Force Mildenhall.
“At every point along the way, we’re going to make it clear that the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges, and the issues that matter most to our future.
Biden said he was prepared to tell Putin that the transatlantic alliance will remain “a vital source of strength for the U.K., Europe, and the United States.”