At meetings of the Group of 7 and NATO, he discussed the upcoming summit with at least two dozen foreign leaders, from the Chancellor of Germany to the leaders of the tiny Baltic states to the right-wing President of Poland. He was even quizzed on the meeting by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II over tea at Windsor Castle.
“He’s bright, he’s tough, and I’ve found that he is, as they say when I used to play ball, a worthy adversary,” Biden told reporters of Putin on Monday during a press conference at NATO headquarters. The event was delayed nearly three hours as Biden met with an onslaught of fellow leaders eager for an audience with the new American leader.
He has declined to say what specifically he will relay to Putin during their talks, which are set to begin midday. Instead, he’s provided a broad outline of his message and insisted a face-to-face is necessary to lend a degree of stability to US-Russia relations.
“I’m going to make clear to President Putin that there are areas where we can cooperate if he chooses. And if he chooses not to cooperate and acts in a way that he has in the past relative to cybersecurity and some other activities, then we will respond,” he said.
“I have a very different view than my predecessor”
Before departing Brussels, Biden arrived at a summit with European Union leaders that officials said would focus largely on issues of trade. Biden has yet to roll back Trump-era tariffs on steel and aluminum and there remains a dispute over how much the US and EU each subsidize the giant airplane manufacturers Boeing and Airbus.
The two sides were expected to announce a resolution of the aircraft dispute, and signal progress on the metal tariffs without formally announcing their suspension quite yet.
Biden is eager to restore transatlantic ties on his European tour this week, hoping to enter the high-stakes summit with Putin appearing united with western allies. That has mostly come in statements of support, but the trade dispute resolution is a concrete signal of his intent to normalize traditional US alliances after four years of strain.
“America is back. We are committed — we have never fully left — but we are reasserting the fact it is overwhelmingly in the interest of the United States to have a great relationship with NATO and with the EU,” Biden said as the talks began. “I have a very different vie
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