President Joe Biden arrives in Spain to attend NATO summit and pledges billions for food security to complete G7

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US President Joe Biden arrives at Torrejon Air Base near Madrid, Spain on Tuesday ahead of a NATO summit on Wednesday. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | License picture

June 28 (UPI) — President Joe Biden attended the final session of the G7 summit in Germany on Tuesday before departing for Spain to take part in a NATO summit there, which will focus on Russia’s war in Ukraine and the sheet of alliance route over the next few years.

Before leaving Germany on Tuesday, Biden met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. At the meeting, the three leaders pledged continued support for Ukrainian forces, which have been under constant attack from Russia for more than four months.

Leaders also announced a new commitment of $5 billion to strengthen global food security. The United States will give more than half of this amount.

“$2 billion will go to help save lives through direct humanitarian interventions, and $760 million will go towards short- and medium-term sustainable food assistance to help build the resilience and productivity of food systems across the world, especially in vulnerable regions,” a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

At the NATO summit in Madrid, Biden is due to attend a bilateral meeting with Spanish President Pedro Sanchez. Both will focus on NATO support for Ukraine and other pressing issues, the White House said.

Other topics of discussion will include economic prosperity in Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa and cooperation on global challenges such as climate change and health security, the White House said in a statement.

Later Tuesday, Biden was scheduled to meet Spain’s King Felipe VI and attend a dinner for heads of state.

At the NATO summit in Spain, President Biden and other leaders are expected to explore a “strategic concept” for the alliance’s plans over the next 10 years. File photo by Toms Kalnins/EPA-EFE

All parties at the NATO summit will approve a “strategic concept” which sets out the goals of the defensive alliance over the next decade.

NATO has been a key player in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, with Russian President Vladimir Putin consistently denouncing the alliance’s eastward expansion to include former Soviet bloc states like Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Putin also opposed Ukraine becoming a member of NATO. Ukraine has expressed interest in joining, but currently only has an official working relationship with the group.

Sweden and Finland have applied for NATO membership and should be admitted soon. Officials from both countries met with a Turkish delegation at NATO headquarters in Belgium on Monday to discuss admissions.

Turkey opposed Sweden’s membership because of the Nordic country’s support and association with Kurdish workers in the Scandinavian country. The Kurdish Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK, is an opposition group in Turkey and is classified as a terrorist group by many Western countries, including Sweden. The PKK is mainly based in southern Turkey and northern Iraq.

Stockholm, however, has expressly stated that it supports Kurdish workers in Sweden who are not part of the PKK. But Turkey says Swedish support helped the splinter group.

Biden will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO summit in Spain on Wednesday to discuss the matter, the White House said. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that Biden and Erdogan would talk about U.S.-Turkey relations and bids for Sweden and Finland. Sullivan also said Biden would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Wednesday.

Admission to NATO requires the unanimous support of all members. Turkey, which joined NATO in 1952, has already blocked an attempt to fast-track applications from Finland and Sweden. Ankara’s grievances against Finland seem to be mainly due to its association with Sweden in their bid to join NATO.

“If Finland and Sweden want to join a security alliance, they must give up their support for a terrorist organization (PKK) and not give them refuge,” former Turkish ambassador Hakki Akil told CNBC. “On the other hand, they must also accept Turkish requests for the extradition of 30 terrorists, [which are] very special cases.