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Biden’s Warm Oval Office Welcome for Europe-Leaning Starmer Signals Renewed US-UK Alignment

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Biden was especially happy to greet Starmer, who advocates for a blend of change and stability and has inclinations towards Europe. Although President Biden was cordial with Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, he was particularly receptive to Sir Keir, whose political views are closer to those of the U.S. Democrats, during his visit to the Oval Office.

Political editor Beth Rigby (@BethRigby)

Thursday, July 11, 2024, 03:

The unique bond between the US and the UK is built on a foundation of shared historical experiences, mutual values, and diplomatic connections that go beyond the tenure of any individual leader or prime minister.

President Joe Biden appeared notably delighted to host the newly elected British Prime Minister Keir Starmer at the Oval Office for their inaugural bi-lateral discussion, just days after Starmer's election.

In his interactions with the leaders who have occupied the prime ministerial seat during their visits to the Oval Office, President Biden has consistently shown warmth, similar to his demeanor with Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. However, Sir Keir shares a closer ideological connection with the U.S. Democrats.

Sir Keir, in contrast to the two leaders before him, did not support Brexit, a stance that had recently caused some tension in the longstanding special relationship.

President Biden began the meeting by showing his support for Sir Keir's goal to bring the UK closer to the European Union once again.

The President of the United States, previously critical of Brexit and its potential impact on peace in Ireland, expressed to both American and British journalists that he sees London as the critical link in strengthening the NATO alliance.

"Being in close partnership with Europe is crucial. We are aware of each other's positions," he stated, to which Sir Keir responded, "That's absolutely correct."

As Sir Keir gravitates towards European engagement, President Biden and his partners are equally pleased that regarding NATO and Ukraine, the incoming prime minister is maintaining the policies established by Mr. Sunak.

He has reaffirmed his dedication to the £3 billion financial plan established by the previous leader and also attended the NATO summit, pledging a steadfast promise to increase the UK's defense spending to 2.5%. Unlike Mr. Sunak, however, he did not specify a timeline for achieving this goal.

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Following the extended bilateral meeting between the prime minister and the president, the UK government issued a statement highlighting that the two leaders discussed the critical role of the NATO alliance and the unique partnership between their nations amid current global political tensions, specifically pointing to the conflict in Ukraine.

The consensus was that both nations must persist in doing "all that is necessary to aid Ukraine and prevent victors such as Putin from succeeding."

The UK authorities noted that the president appreciated the prime minister's remarks about forming stronger ties with European nations and the UK's dedication to AUKUS. They agreed that in an era of increasing global challenges, collaboration and unity enhance our strength.

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Sir Keir has included Nick Thomas-Symonds, the cabinet minister in charge of EU affairs, in his delegation to the summit, aiming to expedite discussions on strengthening ties with European Union leaders.

The recently formed administration has initiated efforts to revise the Brexit agreement crafted under Boris Johnson, and is simultaneously establishing a new security agreement with the EU.

Discover additional details on Sky News: George Clooney urges Biden to withdraw from the presidential contest. F-16 fighter aircraft scheduled for deployment in Ukraine this summer. Starmer showcases diplomatic strength at NATO conference.

Stay updated on the most recent developments from the UK and internationally by tuning into Sky News.

Mr. Starmer and President Biden shared a light moment discussing soccer when they convened following England's win against the Netherlands, securing their spot in the Euro finals.

When questioned in the Oval Office about whether football was returning home, Sir Keir responded, "It seems so," to which President Biden humorously added, "It's thanks to the prime minister."

Sir Keir, who holds a season ticket for Arsenal, plans to be at Sunday’s championship match in Germany.

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