US President Joe Biden called on Britain’s King Charles to discuss how to deal with the threat of climate change after meeting Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 10 Downing Street in London on Monday.
After arriving at Stansted Airport on Sunday evening, he was taken via helicopter to the US ambassador’s residence in central London.
The stopover in Britain will precede a crucial two-day NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, where leaders will deliberate on the situation in Ukraine and the future of the military alliance, which several countries have expressed interest in joining.
Both sides did not attach much importance to the President’s meeting with Sunak, their fifth meeting in as many months, describing it as a continuation of long-standing discussions, although it was the Prime Minister’s visit to Downing Street as the President. It was Biden’s first trip to the office.
“It’s great to continue our conversation,” Sunak told Biden, seated in the Downing Street garden.
Biden replied, “We have a lot to talk about.” “Our relationship is very strong. Couldn’t have met a closer friend and greater ally. We have a lot to talk about.”
After spending less than an hour in Sunak’s office, Biden went to Windsor Castle to meet the king, the high-profile part of his short British visit.
Biden, who did not attend the king’s coronation in May in line with the long-standing practice of US presidents, was expected to discuss climate change at Windsor, an issue that Charles has fought for more than five decades. Has campaigned since.
The 74-year-old king received the 80-year-old president in the forecourt of the palace, where he was given a guard of honour.
The men had tea before discussing how to help spur private investment to tackle climate change, a threat both leaders say is existential.
“The president has a lot of respect for King’s commitment, especially on the climate issue. He’s been an outspoken voice on this issue,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Air Force One on Sunday.
Their meeting comes at a time when Sunak has faced criticism over his commitment to environmental issues.
Biden and Charles – who do not know each other well – had a phone conversation earlier this year that Sullivan described as “incredibly warm”. Biden attended the funeral of Queen Elizabeth last year and First Lady Jill Biden attended the coronation of the new king.
Sunak and Biden were due to share notes ahead of a NATO summit in Lithuania, which begins on Tuesday and will be dominated by the Ukraine crisis.
Ahead of the trip, Biden urged caution for now on Ukraine’s campaign to join NATO, whose mutual defense pact obliges all members to come to the aid of any member that is attacked.
Biden said, “I don’t think there is unanimity in NATO on whether or not to bring Ukraine into the NATO family at this time, in the midst of a war.” CNN The interview which aired on Sunday.
His visit comes days after the US agreed to send cluster munitions to Ukraine.
Such munitions are banned by over 100 countries, including the UK, and are widely seen as a danger to civilian populations as they typically release large numbers of small bombs that cover a wide area. I can kill indiscriminately.
Russia, Ukraine and the US have not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans their production, stockpiling, use and transfer.
A spokesman for Sunak said the US decision was a difficult one, which Russia imposed on Washington.