Berlin (dpa) – US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are due to meet in the White House next month as part of efforts to renew trans-Atlantic ties. Merkel’s visit on July 15 will “affirm the deep bilateral ties between the United States and Germany,” the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki said in a statement, with the pandemic high on the meeting’s agenda. Merkel’s trip to Washington is also likely to be one of her last foreign excursions before she leaves the world stage in about three months when she is due to stand down as leader of Europe’s biggest economy.
Biden is also the fourth president to occupy the White House since Merkel came to power 16 years ago. She is also likely to be only the third world leader to visit the White House since Biden was inaugurated in January, with his first months in power dominated by the pandemic. Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and South Korea’s President Moon Jae are so far the only two others leaders to have visited Biden in Washington since he took power.
In addition to steps for ending the Covid-19 pandemic, the White House said the two leaders will address a slew of challenges including the threat posed by climate change as well as the promotion of economic prosperity and shoring up international security. A German government spokesman described Merkel’s trip as a “working visit” with the chancellor and Biden having a long-standing relationship, in particular as a result of his eight years as former president Barack Obama’s vice president.
Merkel and Biden are expected to meet for the first time in person since his inauguration during the Group of Seven summit of the world’s richest nations, which opened on Friday in Britain.
Underlining Merkel’s links with the US, Obama awarded Merkel in 2011 America’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, praising her as a “trusted friend.”
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