UK PM Rishi Sunak to hold key bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden
LONDON(NOA)- British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be holding a key bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden on Thursday. Sunak, who began his two-day trip to Washington with a message that post-Brexit Britain remains an essential American ally, is likely to discuss issues including Ukraine, economic and defence cooperation.
America and Britain are the two biggest military donors to Ukraine. The recent dam collapse in a Russian-controlled region in Southern Ukraine has added urgency to the meeting between the two leaders.
Apart from Ukraine, Sunak will push for closer economic ties between the US and UK during the meeting with Biden. Sunak is also likely to lobby for UK defense secretary Ben Wallace to become the next head of NATO after secretary general Jens Stoltenberg steps down in September.
The trip is Sunak’s first to the US capital since he took office in October, but his fourth meeting with Biden in the last four months. The two leaders earlier met at a Group of Seven summits in Japan, in Northern Ireland, and at a three-way defence meeting with Australia in San Diego.
Sunak is due to be in the U.S. capital on Wednesday and Thursday for talks with politicians in Congress and business leaders as well as with the president.
“That’s why it is so important for a UK Prime Minister to forge a close and candid relationship with the President of the United States – on every global problem, you will see us working side-by-side.”
Sunak and Biden are expected to discuss improving economic ties and sustaining military support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. But there will be no talks about a formal free trade deal, Sunak’s spokesperson said earlier this week.
London wants to forge better relations with the U.S. after they were strained by Britain’s departure from the European Union in 2020.
In April, a White House official denied Biden was “anti-British” after he spent just half a day in the British province of Northern Ireland before travelling to the Irish Republic for two-and-a-half days of meetings.
Downing Street said in Saturday’s statement that Sunak’s meeting with Biden would be his fourth in as many months, representing more “sustained contact” with a U.S. president than any other prime minister has had in recent years.