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Merkel and Biden to chart a course for the way forward for US-German relations in White House assembly

The ongoing dispute between the United States and Germany over a Russian gasoline pipeline, referred to as Nord Stream 2, is predicted to play out between the 2 leaders within the Oval Office on Thursday, in keeping with senior administration officers. Climate change, Covid-19 vaccines, Russian cyber assaults, Ukraine and shoring up their democracies are additionally subjects on the agenda, an official mentioned.

Upon her arrival within the Oval Office, Biden referred to as Merkel a “personal friend, as well as a friend to the United States.”

“We have a full agenda ahead of us. We’re going to be meeting alone for a while and we’re going to bring in some of our key staff. And one of the things that I want to talk about is the enduring friendship the chancellor has been so responsible for nailing down, and making sure it continues. And we’re ready to dive in. The cooperation between the United States and Germany has been strong, and we hope to continue that and I’m confident we will.”

The go to comes simply three months earlier than Merkel leaves her function as chancellor of Germany in October, after having served within the place for greater than 15 years. Elections to switch the “chancellor of the free world” are in September.

Biden is the fourth US president with whom she’s interacted. And on Thursday, Merkel mentioned this marks her 23rd go to to Washington since changing into chancellor.

Administration officers have been constant in describing the go to as a “working” session that’s ahead trying, regardless of Merkel’s restricted time remaining atop the German authorities. But after a decade-and-a-half of visiting Washington, her closing journey to satisfy a US president is a second to replicate on her legacy.

Merkel began the day with a breakfast hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris on the Naval Observatory. She is the primary overseas chief Harris has hosted at her residence since shifting in.

They mentioned “domestic and international issues including current challenges, history between the two counties and future endeavors,” in keeping with a White House official.

Following the information that flooding has led to a number of deaths in Germany, Merkel referred to as the floods a “catastrophe.”

“Here in Washington, my thoughts are also always with the people in our homeland,” Merkel mentioned Thursday morning. “Peaceful locations are going by a disaster in these hours, one can say a tragedy. Heavy rainfall and floods are very insufficient phrases to explain this — it’s due to this fact actually a disaster.”

Biden and Merkel met one-on-one within the Oval Office earlier than an expanded session with aides and a concluding joint press convention. Biden and his spouse will host Merkel and her husband for dinner on the White House with a “vary of people” who’ve been supporters of Germany. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, is predicted to attend the dinner, which is able to come hours after he meets with former President Donald Trump at his New Jersey golf membership.

Merkel will even obtain an honorary diploma from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies whereas within the states — marking her 18th honorary diploma to this point.

Officials mentioned the leaders will unveil a “Washington Declaration” that spells out a joint vision for cooperating on difference policy challenges, and a shared commitment to human rights and the results democratic leadership provides for the world. They will also announce other initiatives, including a “futures discussion board” that brings collectively Americans and Germans from completely different sectors; an financial dialogue; and a local weather and power partnership.

The assembly comes shortly after the White House lately introduced Biden would nominate Amy Gutmann to function the US ambassador to Germany. If confirmed she can be the primary girl to serve within the function.

A heat relationship with essential sticking factors

So far, indicators level to renewed heat relations between the 2 international locations following 4 years of Trump’s “America First” approach to diplomacy. The approach served as a sharp departure from the Obama administration era of foreign policy — when Merkel regarded then-President Barack Obama a “accomplice and good friend.”

But notably, Merkel has maintained that there’ll nonetheless be arguments between Germany and the US with Biden serving as President.

“Don’t suppose that from tomorrow there’ll solely be concord between us,” she told reporters a day after Biden’s inauguration. “There will even be arguments about how greatest to do issues for our two international locations.”

Biden and Merkel have met a number of instances, and Thursday’s White House assembly might be their second in-person encounter since Biden was sworn in.

Following the G7 summit within the UK earlier this spring, Merkel indicated that Biden introduced “new momentum” to the gathering. She said being able to meet Biden was “clearly necessary as a result of he stands for the dedication to multilateralism which we had been lacking in recent times” — an obvious nod to Trump’s strategy. She’s additionally invited the President to Germany.

Biden and Merkel have frequently interacted with each other on the world’s stage for the reason that Obama years.

While serving as vp, Biden undertook numerous overseas coverage points as a part of his portfolio, touring to the Munich Security Conference yearly and showing alongside Merkel. At the time, Biden made identified his variations with Germany over whether or not to ship weapons to Ukraine.

Obama, in the meantime, visited Germany a half dozen instances whereas in workplace — excluding stops at Ramstein Air Force Base, a typical pit cease for Air Force One throughout prolonged journey.

But regardless of their commonalities, Biden and Merkel nonetheless have numerous variations that might be on the desk after they meet in Washington on Thursday.

The US believes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline mission, which transports pure gasoline from Russia on to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea, will present Moscow undue leverage over the European power sector. But the White House does not count on to achieve a decision when it is introduced up Thursday.

Biden will elevate his “long-standing considerations” over Nord Stream 2 with Merkel, together with his need to make sure it is not used for coercive functions in opposition to Ukraine, in keeping with one official.

Instead, officers imagine Biden’s determination earlier this yr to waive congressional sanctions on Germany has allowed “diplomatic area” for talks between the 2 sides, even when no decision on the thorny problem has been discovered.

Matthias Matthijs, a senior fellow for Europe on the Council on Foreign Relations and an affiliate professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, mentioned it is clear that Germany “desires to maneuver forward with the pipeline and desires to reassure the US that this would possibly not give (President Vladimir) Putin’s Russia the chance to blackmail the EU.”

“The Germans are hoping to get the essential go-ahead on (Nord Stream 2), a dedication from the US that it might improve its exports of Liquefied Natural Gas to Europe, and can wish to keep away from to get drawn into a brand new Cold War with China, the place Berlin has its personal industrial pursuits,” he added. Matthijis additionally mentioned the Germans are hoping for the US to carry its tons of of tariffs on the European Union, however it’s an space Biden is much less prone to interact.

China can also be prone to expose variations between the 2 leaders. Merkel has advocated a extra cooperative strategy to Beijing — her nation’s most necessary buying and selling accomplice — whilst Biden works to consolidate western help for a extra confrontational strategy.

Those variations performed out final month on the G7 summit, although Merkel joined different European leaders in signing onto a closing assertion calling out China’s compelled labor practices.

Biden has been clear in talks with Merkel and different leaders of the necessity to “interact China from a place of power,” an official mentioned — a message he’ll repeat on Thursday.

Still, the diplomatic strategy by the Biden administration marks a distinction to the Trump years.

During his tenure in workplace, Trump hammered Germany on commerce and its lack of monetary contributions to NATO shared protection. He moved to withdraw practically 12,000 troops from Germany and accused ​​Germany of being beholden to Russia as a result of it buys power from Moscow. And he additionally took to personally insulting Merkel over the cellphone, at one level telling her that she was “silly.”
Merkel, in flip, usually spoke out about Trump’s rhetoric and pushed again on Trump’s assertion that Germany is a captive of Russia by referencing her personal upbringing in Soviet-controlled East Germany.

Merkel would be the first European chief to go to Biden on the White House. He met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in April and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in May.

CNN’s Nadine Schmidt, DJ Judd and Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.

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