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Biden kicks off first NATO summit with plans to focus on Russia, China

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JUNE 14, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C — President Joe Biden kicked off his first NATO summit as commander in chief Monday by reaffirming the U.S. support of the 72-year-old alliance after several years of his predecessor questioning its value.

“NATO is critically important for U.S. interests in and of itself,” Biden said from NATO’s headquarters in Brussels while speaking with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Biden called NATO’s Article 5 “a sacred obligation,” referring to the agreement that an attack on one is an attack on all and will be met with a collective response. He also referred to the days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, saying, “NATO stepped up and they honored Article 5, and I just want all of Europe to know the United States is there, the United States is there.”

The president touched on some of the main issues that the leaders of the 30 Allied nations are expected to tackle during the summit, including the rising threats of Russia and China.

“Russia is not acting in a way that is consistent as we hoped, as well as China,” Biden said during his brief meeting with Stoltenberg.

During the summit Monday, NATO members are expected to develop a revised framework that details how they will respond to “Russia’s aggressive policies and actions; challenges posed by the People’s Republic of China to our collective security, prosperity, and values; and transnational threats such as terrorism, cyber threats, and climate change,” the White House said. The new framework will be adopted at the 2022 NATO summit.

They are also expected to support a new defense policy to address cyber threats and ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure and to agree to a new plan aimed at slowing down the effects of climate change.

The U.S. and NATO members will address the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan this year and how they and other partners “will continue supporting the people of Afghanistan through civilian and security assistance,” the White House said.

Biden’s schedule includes meeting with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. At the end of the day, Biden is expected to hold a press conference from NATO headquarters.

On Tuesday, Biden will participate in a summit with the European Union and then will travel to Geneva, Switzerland. In Geneva on Wednesday, Biden is planning to speak in person for the first time as president with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a pivotal meeting where Biden will likely address cyberattacks and Russian aggression in Ukraine, interference in U.S. elections and other threats.


Courtesy/Source: NBC News

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