Biden to travel to UK, NATO summit, Finland: White House

AFP , Sunday 2 Jul 2023

US President Joe Biden has scheduled a diplomatic trip to Europe this month with stops in the United Kingdom, at the NATO summit in Lithuania and for meetings in Finland, the White House said Sunday.

NATO Biden
File photo: President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, Thursday, June 30, 2022. AP


Biden is set to depart July 9 for "engagements" with the UK's King Charles III and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the White House said in a statement. He will then continue to the NATO summit in Vilnius followed by a visit to Helsinki for the US-Nordic Leaders Summit.

Biden had been widely expected to attend the NATO summit. The US has said that the alliance is nearly consensus on how to address Ukraine's membership push at the upcoming summit, as the Eastern European country -- with support from Western nations -- continues fighting off a Russian invasion.

The trip comes as the White House prepares to welcome Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Washington ahead of the talks in Vilnius, to talk about Stockholm's ambitions to join the alliance.

Sweden asked to join NATO in May 2022, three months after Russia invaded Ukraine, but its membership bid, which must be ratified by all 31 member states, has been blocked by Turkey and Hungary.

Top diplomats from Turkey and Sweden will meet on Thursday, the day after Kristersson's White House visit, at NATO headquarters in Brussels for talks on Stockholm's bid to join the alliance.

Turkey dropped objections to Sweden's Nordic neighbor Finland joining earlier in the year and Helsinki became a NATO member in April.

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