Biden to host Merkel at White House as German chancellor prepares to leave office – live
In their meeting this afternoon, Joe Biden and Angela Merkel will almost certainly discuss the future of Afghanistan as the US military withdraws from the country.
Biden said last week that the withdrawal from Afghanistan will conclude by August 31, although the Pentagon has said that the operation is already 90% complete.
The US is now trying to secure a location for a military base in Central Asia to remain near Afghanistan in case there is a resurgence of outside militants there.
The AP reports:
But even as high-level US diplomats head to the region, they are encountering doubts from Afghanistan’s neighbours about any such security partnerships with the US. This is in contrast to 2001, when Central Asian countries made their territory available for US bases, troops and other access when the US hit back for the 9/11 attacks plotted by al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
There is distrust of the US as a reliable long-term partner, after an only partly successful war in Afghanistan and years of widely fluctuating US engagement regionally and globally, say former American diplomats. Russia also says a permanent US military base in its Central Asia sphere of influence would be ‘unacceptable’.
Meanwhile, the Taliban leadership, more internationally savvy than it was in 2001, has been visiting regional capitals and Moscow in a diplomatic push of its own, offering pledges it will pursue regional security, peace and trade whatever comes of its fight with the Kabul government.
Kamala Harris is now hosting German chancellor Angela Merkel for a meeting at the vice-president’s residence, the Naval Observatory.
The meeting marks the first time that Harris has hosted a foreign leader at the Naval Observatory since she took office in January. (Harris did not move into the residence until April because of ongoing repairs.)
According to memo from the vice-president’s team, the two leaders will discuss the threats facing democracies around the world and the importance of the US-German alliance.
“The Vice President will emphasize that we must work together to navigate many challenges together, including global health and climate crises, gender inequality, an increasingly uncertain geopolitical environment, and the Russia and China relationships,” the memo says.
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
Joe Biden will meet with German chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House today, as the longtime leader prepares to step down from her post after 16 years.
The two leaders will participate in a bilateral meeting before holding a joint press conference this afternoon. Merkel will also join Biden and Kamala Harris for a dinner with their spouses tonight.
Merkel’s visit marks Biden’s latest attempt to strengthen US alliances, after four years of Donald Trump’s divisive leadership.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week that Merkel’s visit “will affirm the deep and enduring bilateral ties between the United States and Germany” and “address our robust partnership on shared global challenges”.
Merkel will also likely push Biden on the future of Afghanistan now that the US military is leaving and Taliban forces are making territorial gains across the country.
The blog will have more details on Merkel’s visit coming up, so stay tuned.