Biden touches down in Madrid ahead of ‘truly historic’ Nato summit
Madrid, Jun 28 (EFE).- United States president Joe Biden arrived in the Spanish capital on Tuesday to take part in what he described as a “truly historic” Nato summit following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Biden joined host nation Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez for a press briefing in Madrid.
“We’re marking 40 years since Spain joined Nato, and becoming an indispensable ally, and today we’re standing together to defend our shared security, and I emphasize shared security, strengthen our trans-Atlantic Alliance today and meet the challenges we face today and in the future,” Biden said, thanking Sánchez for hosting a “truly historic” summit at a key moment in “our Alliance.”
“Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe and shattered every norm since World War II,” the US president continued.
“The trans-Atlantic community has been and will continue to be our greatest strength in our response to Russia (…) We’re standing as one to support Ukraine and to enhance our own deterrence and defense capabilities,” he added, highlighting that the US had boosted its military presence in Europe since Russian leader Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine.
Spain’s offer of refuge to over 140,000 Ukrainian citizens fleeing the war was a testament to the resolve of the Spanish people, Biden said.
As had been previously mentioned by the White House, Biden announced that Spain and the US would work on an agreement to boost the number of US Navy destroyers stationed at the Rota base in southern Spain. White House officials earlier told reporters that the number of vessels would be increased from four to six.
He said Nato was “strengthening its posture” against threats from its eastern and southern flanks.
Earlier Tuesday, Biden was greeted by Spain’s king Felipe VI at the Torrejón de Ardoz military air base just outside Madrid after landing on a flight from Germany, where he had attended a Group of Seven summit in Bavaria.
The US president is due to appear at the Nato summit, taking place amid tight security at the Ifema convention center in the city’s northeast, on Wednesday and Thursday.
At the summit, Nato is due to thrash out its strategic roadmap for the next 10 years, taking into account the tectonic shift in geopolitics following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Nato’s non-member Indo-Pacific partners Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan will also be in attendance to discuss, among other things, China’s expansion in the region.
Another issue to be resolved at the summit is Turkey’s veto of Sweden and Finland joining the Alliance over the Nordic countries’ approach to Kurdish organizations that Ankara views as terrorist groups.
Spain, meanwhile, is leading efforts to secure commitments to tackle security challenges stemming from Nato’s southern flanks.
Speaking at a side event at the summit venue on Tuesday, Spain’s monarch said the alliance was “proving its value as a beacon of freedom for all our like minded friends and partners beyond Europe and North America.”
“We have reason to feel confident that the transatlantic relationship is stronger than ever and that Europe has remained united in the face of Russia’s intolerable aggression.
“Our country is certainly in an ideal position, both geopolitically and due to our widely shared will to serve as a bridge between the Atlantic, Europe and the Mediterranean. EFE