Acknowledging disagreements, Biden and Merkel signal warmer U.S.-German relationship.


President Biden hosted Angela Merkel on the White House on Thursday, a working go to that allowed him to shore up a diplomatic relationship that had frayed through the Trump period — at the same time as each acknowledged that important variations stay of their insurance policies towards Russia.

During a 50-minute assembly on the White House, Mr. Biden’s agenda objects with the outgoing German chancellor included a number of of his most urgent geopolitical priorities, together with restraining Chinese affect, curbing Russian aggression and waiving mental property restrictions on coronavirus vaccine producers.

In a information convention within the East Room after the assembly, Mr. Biden mentioned he broached the contentious difficulty of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a pure gasoline conduit being constructed between Germany and Russia, a mission that Mr. Biden and his predecessors have assailed as little greater than a coercive instrument in opposition to Ukraine and different allies.

“Good friends can disagree,” he mentioned of the mission.

Mr. Biden conceded that Ms. Merkel had not modified her considering on the Russian pipeline, “While I reiterated my concerns about Nord Stream 2,” Mr. Biden mentioned, the pair have been “united in our conviction that Russia should not be able to use energy as a weapon.”

Earlier this yr, Mr. Biden waived congressional sanctions on the Russian firm constructing the Nord Stream 2 gasoline pipeline and its German chief government, successfully conceding that an effort to halt the mission, which is predicted to be full by the tip of this yr, was not definitely worth the anticipated price to U.S.-German relations.

Mr. Biden and Ms. Merkel repeatedly emphasised their private relationship of their public appearances, a pointy divergence from the German chief’s chilly and stilted interactions with former President Donald J. Trump who maligned her as “captive to Russia.”

Ms. Merkel referred to the Mr. Biden as “dear Joe” no fewer than 3 times throughout their information convention, opening her remarks by declaring, “We are not only partners, but we are very close friends.”

Mr. Biden started the occasion by providing his condolences to the German individuals for the lack of life and property attributable to current floods, and went on to thank the chancellor for “an exemplary life of groundbreaking service to Germany” and for her work with 4 U.S. presidents.

For the president, the purpose of journey was to affirm that the United States and Germany, together with a number of European allies, are aligned and pleasant after Mr. Trump’s time period. Mr. Biden has taken pains to emphasize that the U.S.-German relationship has entered a extra steady period, however the journey clarified that Mr. Trump’s departure had not basically modified the character of a few of their deepest coverage rifts.

Ms. Merkel’s go to was additionally a diplomatic victory lap of kinds, earlier than her time period expires later this yr.

She began her day with a cheese souffle breakfast at Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence. “I can only say that I’m delighted too for this opportunity here to meet the first Madam Vice President of the United States of America,” Ms. Merkel mentioned by means of a translator.

Later, Ms. Merkel obtained an honorary doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, including to the gathering of levels bestowed to her from Harvard and Stanford. She and Mr. Biden, who she has identified since his time within the Senate, exchanged form sentiments whereas sitting in adjoining chairs within the Oval Office.

“I consider her to be a personal friend as well as a great friend of the United States,” mentioned Mr. Biden, addressing reporters earlier than their first assembly.

“I’d like to say here how much I value the friendship with the United States of America,” Ms. Merkel mentioned.

The alternate wasn’t overly heat, but it surely was leagues extra collegial than Ms. Merkel’s previous conferences with a president within the Oval Office, together with a 2017 alternate with Mr. Trump when Ms. Merkel requested “Do you want to have a handshake?” Mr. Trump apparently did not.

Just as Ms. Merkel spent years responding mildly to Mr. Trump, she has not been overeager to simply accept Mr. Biden’s entreaties. During a digital version of the Munich Security Conference held earlier this yr, she mentioned of the U.S. relationship that “our interests will not always converge.”

It was partially a reference to Mr. Biden’s curiosity in tamping down Beijing’s rising affect. Ms. Merkel has traditionally been receptive to working with China, Germany’s most essential buying and selling accomplice.

After the information convention, Ms. Merkel was scheduled to attend a going-away dinner of kinds with longtime allies, together with Hillary Clinton, the previous secretary of state and presidential candidate.

Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the minority chief, was also scheduled to attend, contemporary from a visit earlier within the day to see Mr. Trump at his golf membership in New Jersey.



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