Biden bids Merkel farewell: Friends – with disagreements – News Vibe24

    Biden bids Merkel farewell: Friends - with disagreements - Times of India
    WASHINGTON: Welcoming Angela Merkel to the White House for the last time, President Joe Biden renewed his concerns to the German chancellor on Thursday about a large, near-completion Russian gas pipeline to Germany, but said they should not agree to Russia to use energy. as a weapon.
    The two discussed – though made no apparent progress – the differences over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline during a broadly friendly farewell visit for Merkel as she nears the end of a political career spanning four US presidencies.
    “On a personal note, I have to tell you that I will miss seeing you at our summits,” Biden said as he stood next to Merkel, Germany’s second-longest-serving chancellor, at a White House press conference late in the afternoon. “I will really do it.”
    Merkel, who had a famously difficult relationship with former President Donald Trump, showed her ease and familiarity with Biden, who has long been in international politics, repeatedly referred to as “Dear Joe.”
    Asked to compare her relationship with Biden to her own with Trump, Merkel remained diplomatic, saying only that it was in the interest of every German chancellor to “work with every American president”. He added with a smile, “Today was a very friendly exchange.”
    However, their personal warmth, the US-Germany relationship is entering a new region, as Merkel, who is not seeking another term in the September elections, is approaching her departure from office. There are doubts on both sides about how the two nations will negotiate the growing differences.
    The United States has long argued that Nord Stream 2 would threaten European energy security by increasing the continent’s dependence on Russian gas and allowing Russia to exert political pressure on vulnerable Eastern and Central European countries, particularly Ukraine. However, Biden recently waived sanctions against German entities involved in the project, a move that angered many in Congress.
    Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican in a letter to Biden ahead of the leaders’ meeting, expressed concern that the pipeline already has an economic impact on US ally Ukraine. Rubio said Gazprom, the company that runs Nord Stream 2, “has already begun reducing pipeline use in Ukraine” as the new pipeline nears completion.
    Merkel tried to downplay the differences and stress that the pipeline was in addition to _ not intended to displace _ Ukrainian pipelines.
    “Our idea is and remains that Ukraine remains a transit country for gas, that Ukraine, like any other country in the world, has the right to territorial sovereignty,” Merkel said. He added that Germany was ready to react to Moscow “if Russia does not respect this right of Ukraine as a transit country.”
    Merkel also voiced concerns about Covid-19 travel restrictions barring most Europeans from traveling to US
    Biden said he had brought the head of the coronavirus task force to discuss the issue and that he expected to be able to offer a more definitive answer “within the next seven days” about when restrictions could be eased.
    Merkel started her day with a working breakfast with Vice President Kamala Harris, and Harris’s office said the two had a “very honest conversation”.
    Back home in Germany, Merkel and neighboring Belgium were hit by heavy flooding that left more than 60 people dead and dozens missing.
    “My sympathy goes to the relatives and the dead and the missing,” he said.
    Officials in Washington and elsewhere are wondering what course Germany can take after the September vote.
    Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union leads the polls, but environmentalists the Greens and the center-left Social Democrats are also trying to lead a future government. While the three parties differ in many policy areas, they are all committed to a strong transatlantic relationship.
    Germany has strong trade ties with China, but has also criticized Beijing’s human rights record. Merkel wants to avoid a situation in which Germany, or the European Union, may be forced to choose sides between China and the United States.
    Merkel insisted on the need to work with China on global issues such as climate change and the coronavirus pandemic, even when then-President Trump blamed Beijing for starting the pandemic.
    However, Merkel told reporters that she wanted Germany and the European Union to coordinate their China-Washington policy, including on labor rights, trade and cybersecurity.
    “I believe that the foundations of our relationship with China must be based on the common values ​​of the United States and Germany,” he said.
    Médecins Sans Frontières has urged Biden to rely on Merkel to oppose proposals to suspend vaccine patents. Merkel, a trained scientist, argued that the removal of patents would not be effective and could harm future research and development efforts.
    A group of Democratic lawmakers has called on Germany to abandon its “exclusion” over its Covid-19-related intellectual property waiver in line with global trade rules. Such a waiver, lawmakers say, would help escalate effective vaccine production around the world.
    The Biden government has expressed support for the resignation being discussed at the World Trade Organization, but White House officials did not expect any differences to be resolved during Merkel’s visit.
    While there are signs of tension, Biden seemed willing to offer Merkel a farewell.
    She is hosting Merkel and her husband, as well as a number of lawmakers and administration officials, current and former, at the White House for dinner on Thursday afternoon. The guest list includes Secretary of State Antony Blinken and two of his predecessors, Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell.
    Republican Senate and House leaders Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy will also attend, along with other top US and German officials.
    Earlier Thursday, Harris hosted Merkel for breakfast at her home at the US Naval Observatory, praising her for her “excellent career”. Merkel, in turn, noted the historic nature of Harris’ vice presidency.
    “I can only say that I am also happy for this opportunity to meet here the First Vice President of the United States of America,” Merkel said before the two leaders entered a residence to talk about a Gruyere souffle breakfast, seasonal. fruits and cold cuts.
    Also Thursday, Merkel received an honorary doctorate, 18th, from Johns Hopkins University and spoke at the university’s School of Advanced International Studies.

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