**Biden to Discuss Environment with King Charles III and War in Ukraine with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak**
President Joe Biden is set to visit the U.K. and engage in discussions with King Charles III on environmental issues, as well as hold talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on the war in Ukraine. The visit comes as Biden travels to Lithuania for a NATO summit. He will meet with Sunak at 10 Downing St. before heading to Windsor Castle to meet Charles. The visit, although not a full state visit, carries symbolic importance, underscoring the strength of the trans-Atlantic “special relationship,” which has been tested by Brexit but reinforced by unity over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
**Ukraine-Focused Talks and NATO Meeting**
During his visit, President Biden and Prime Minister Sunak will discuss Ukraine and attend the NATO meeting in Vilnius. The leaders will assess the extent to which Ukraine should be included in the military alliance. Although NATO leaders agreed in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually become a member, a specific roadmap has not been formulated. The U.S. is more cautious than some of its NATO allies regarding Ukraine, and closed-door discussions may take place to gauge the U.K.’s position on the matter.
**Strong Western Support for Ukraine**
The U.S. and the U.K. are among the strongest Western supporters of Ukraine. The U.K. has taken the lead on military commitments, which has encouraged the Biden administration to take further action. The U.K. has pushed for increased aid to Ukraine, including tanks and F-16 fighter jets. This support has provided Biden with a strong ally in advancing his agenda, despite opposition from some factions within the Republican Party.
**Unease Regarding Cluster Bombs**
President Biden has faced criticism for his decision to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs, which are banned under a convention signed by numerous countries, including the U.K. Prime Minister Sunak has expressed the U.K.’s opposition to the use of cluster bombs. However, the U.K. has refrained from complaining about the lack of U.S. support for Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to become the next head of NATO. The current Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s term has been extended by a year to maintain unity among Ukraine’s allies.
**Impact of Brexit and Northern Ireland**
The transatlantic relationship has been strained due to Brexit, which President Biden believes has harmed the U.K. He has expressed concern about the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland’s peace process. However, the U.K. and the EU reached a deal in February to settle trade rules for Northern Ireland, alleviating some of Biden’s concerns. The president’s visit to Northern Ireland to commemorate the Good Friday peace agreement caused controversy when he suggested that he visited to ensure the U.K. did not disrupt the agreement.
**Biden and Sunak’s Ongoing Relationship**
Although some U.K. Conservatives may be sensitive to perceived slights from President Biden, the visit marks the sixth meeting between Biden and Prime Minister Sunak. The two leaders have developed a working relationship since Sunak took office in October. Sunak’s visit to Washington resulted in the “Atlantic Declaration,” which promises closer economic cooperation between the two countries.
**Profile-Raising Moment for Charles**
The visit also provides a profile-raising moment for King Charles III. President Biden attended Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September but did not attend Charles’ coronation in May, sending first lady Jill Biden instead. While Charles may not have the star power of his mother, he has been recognized for his environmental advocacy work. His presence alongside Biden serves to enhance the U.S. president’s image regarding climate change and demonstrates the soft power that the British monarchy holds.
In conclusion, President Biden’s visit to the U.K. involves discussions on environmental issues with King Charles III and talks on the war in Ukraine with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The visit highlights the strength of the trans-Atlantic relationship and addresses concerns regarding Ukraine’s inclusion in NATO. The visit also provides an opportunity for Biden and Sunak to strengthen their ongoing relationship and supports King Charles III’s profile as an environmental campaigner.