President Joe Biden lands in Madrid for a NATO summit

President Joe Biden lands in Madrid for a NATO summit

President Joe Biden arrived in Madrid on Tuesday for a NATO summit where he will push for Finland and Sweden’s admission to the alliance, increase the number of destroyers stationed in Spain, and meet with Turkey.

Felipe VI of Spain welcomed Biden when he arrived. He had attended a G7 summit that had taken place in Germany.

Biden reached out several times to pat the king on the shoulder during their lengthy conversation.

Biden will make an announcement at the NATO summit about increasing the American military presence on the eastern flank, as he promised to do after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

Two additional destroyers will be sent by the US to Rota, Spain  on the Spanish coast.

‘We’ll be making specific announcements tomorrow on land, sea and air of additional force posture commitments over the long term, beyond the the duration of this crisis, however long it goes on,’ National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Air Force One on the flight to Madrid.

‘One of those announcements which the president will lay out today when he meets with the Spanish President, will be an increase in the number of destroyers based in Rota, Spain, from four to six destroyers.’

Biden also addressed the additional American support.

‘We’re going to work on an agreement to increase the number of US Naval destroyer stationed in Spain’s Rota naval base, which will also enhance the bilateral defense relationship between Spain and the United States,’ Biden said after a meeting with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

And Sullivan said there could be more to come.

‘We think by the end of the summit, what you will see is a more robust, more effective, more combat credible, more capable, and more determined force posture to take account of a more acute and aggravated Russian threat, not just because of what they’ve done in Ukraine, but also because of the way in which they have changed their posture,’ he said.

Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine will be a main topic of conversation at the three-day summit, which formally kicks off on Tuesday night with a black-tie dinner.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the NATO leaders virtually on Wednesday. He also addressed G7 leaders earlier this week where he asked for more defensive capabilities and said he wants to see the war finish by year’s end.

The invasion has changed NATO’s approach to defense, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday, and a number of states in the alliance.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked a ‘fundamental shift’ in NATO’s approach to defense, and member states will have to boost their military spending in an increasingly unstable world, the leader of the alliance said Tuesday.

Stoltenberg said the meeeting would chart a blueprint for the alliance ‘in a more dangerous and unpredictable world.’

‘To be able to defend in a more dangerous world we have to invest more in our defense,’ Stoltenberg said. Just nine of NATO’s 30 members meet the organization’s target of spending 2% of gross domestic product on defense.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine encouraged Sweden and Finland to submit membership applications.

However, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, is opposing their application to join because he wants them to change their position on Kurdish rebel groups, which Turkey views as terrorist organizations.

While they are both in Madrid on Wednesday, Biden will meet with Erdogan. They spoke on Monday night.

According to Sullivan, the United States thinks Finland and Sweden have made significant progress in addressing Turkey’s concerns. Furthermore, we are confident that Turkey’s concerns will be fully addressed in a bilateral meeting and that they will eventually join the alliance.

The leaders of Japan, Australia, South Korea, and New Zealand are also guests at the NATO summit for the first time.

On Wednesday, President Biden will host a trilateral meeting with the leaders of Korea and Japan to discuss regional threats posed by North Korea.

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