Joe Biden to Meet Rishi Sunak at No 10 Before Nato Summit

Joe Biden to Meet Rishi Sunak at No 10 Before Nato Summit – In an upcoming visit, Joe Biden will meet Rishi Sunak at No 10 as a preliminary discussion before their joint efforts at the Nato summit this week. This will mark their sixth meeting since Sunak assumed office in October, although the meeting’s significance has been overshadowed by the US president’s decision to dispatch cluster munitions to Ukraine.

It is worth noting that these weapons are prohibited by 100 countries, including the UK, which currently holds the presidency of a convention that bans them. Sunak faces a decision regarding how much emphasis to place on the differences when Biden visits Downing Street on Monday morning. However, due to the prime minister’s aim of repairing strained UK-US relations during the Trump, Johnson, and Truss administrations, it is expected that Sunak’s options will be limited.

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On Sunday, the shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, expressed her skepticism about using certain measures, highlighting the prevailing perception of the United States among influential political figures. Later in the day, Biden will hold discussions on climate issues with the King at Windsor Castle. 

The White House has described it as a “substantive meeting” aimed at dispelling accusations from the right that the president snubbed Britain by not attending the coronation. Although brief, with Airforce 1 scheduled to depart in time to arrive in Vilnius on Monday evening, the visit benefits both Biden and Sunak. 

This timing is especially favorable for Sunak, as noted by observers like Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the US from 2016 to 2019. “There is still a fascination on the part of the American public with the royals, so that image will be useful to Biden, but also the one area where the UK continues to have credibility with Washington is on defense and security so he will be looking to ensure Sunak will be a supporter and enabler of him at the Nato summit,” he said.

“For Sunak, who has had a nightmare few weeks and faces some difficult political tests in the form of several byelections, it will be an opportunity for him to be seen as a world leader ahead of a summit where some quite big decisions are coming up including on the issue of Ukraine’s application to join.”

New polling data shared with The Guardian by the British Foreign Policy Group, a UK thinktank, reveals the potential impact of Brexit and the Trump presidency on British public opinion towards the United States. According to the survey conducted by JL Partners at the end of May and the beginning of June, less than half (48%) of the over 2,000 participants trusted the US to act responsibly on the global stage.

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There was also a noticeable division, influenced by generational differences, regarding the perceived importance of the UK’s relationships with the US and the EU. Among the respondents, 48% considered the UK-EU relationship to be more significant, while 35% prioritized the UK-US relationship.

However, David Landsman, a former British diplomat and senior adviser to the British Foreign Policy Group, highlighted the enduring foundation of UK-US collaboration in intelligence and security, which continued to underpin their ties. He emphasized that this collaboration served as an underlying bedrock in the relationship. “This is a relationship which does not look in bad shape and with both being in lockstep going into Vilnius it does look quite powerful, particularly when it comes to bolstering a message of staying the course in Ukraine,” he added.

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