Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Biden heads to Europe for first foreign visit as president

Biden speaks with Ukrainian president ahead of U.S.-Russia summit Joe Biden set to make his first foreign trip since taking office
Ginger Lawrence | 10 June, 2021, 00:24

Joe Biden has scheduled his first foreign trip since taking office, with hopes to fix relationships with traditional allies and partners.

The president is keen to prove that, post-Trump, the United States is once again a reliable player on the world stage.

Biden meets G7 partners - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan - from Friday to Sunday at a seaside resort in southwest England, then visits Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.

Biden will also press Putin about sabre-rattling on the Ukrainian border, the imprisonment of opponent Alexei Navalny, and his support for Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarussian strongman who forced a Ryanair airliner to land in Minsk, then arrested an opponent on the flight.

Biden ran through a packed itinerary that takes in a G7 leaders' meeting and a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit before ending with a face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.

The EU and Russian Federation disagree on a wide range of issues including human rights, Russia's intervention in Ukraine and Moscow's treatment of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, and Michel said that relations between them had reached a low point. Leaders are expected to discuss the pandemic, economic recovery, climate change and trade.

Trump argued that the United States can't afford to be the world's policeman, an isolationist stance popular with his voters.

Justice Dept. says it'll no longer seize reporters' records
The Trump administration announced a crackdown on leaks in 2017 as part of an aggressive stance. The journalists are neither the subjects nor the targets of the investigation, Coley said.

Biden will depart for Europe on Wednesday and be making his first stop across the pond in the United Kingdom.

The week-plus journey is a big moment for Biden, who traveled the world for decades as vice president and as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and will now step off Air Force One onto worldwide soil as commander in chief. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the G7 leaders would announce a new initiative to "provide financing for physical, digital and health infrastructure" in the developing world - an alternative to China's Belt and Road initiative.

Sullivan on Monday said the Biden administration does not expect significant deliverables from the summit. Biden also wants to nudge outlying allies, including Australia, to make more aggressive commitments to the worldwide effort to curb global warming.

The European Union is hoping its summit with the U.S. will bring an end to trade disputes. Sullivan told reporters Biden would press the Russian president on USA priorities and values.

However the Biden-Putin meeting goes, it is unlikely to end with the kind of performance Trump put on in 2018 after meeting the Kremlin leader in Helsinki.

He said that Biden and Erdogan, who have known each other for many years now, were looking forward to having a "business-like" opportunity to have a broad review of bilateral ties.