Joe Biden visits the UK to meet with Rishi Sunak

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, arrived in Britain at the end of this week before the NATO Summit in Lithuania. This visit comes after raising questions about sending cluster bombs to Ukraine by several allies. The UK and Canada are among those who have expressed concerns about the supply of bombs, which are extensively banned for the safety of civilians. According to the United States, Ukraine’s arsenal is getting smaller, necessitating the need for these weapons.

On Monday, Mr. Biden will meet with the Prime Minister of Britain, Rishi Sunak. It is expected that both leaders will discuss various issues, including the conflict in Ukraine. After the announcement of the cluster bomb on Friday, Mr. Sunak did not directly criticize his American counterpart. However, on Saturday, he stated that the UK was one of the 123 countries that had signed the Cluster Munitions Convention, an international treaty that imposes restrictions on the production or use of weapons. 

Joe Biden visits the UK to meet with Rishi Sunak

Other American allies, though, have increased their support. NATO partner country New Zealand said on Sunday that innocent people could suffer “severe harm” from the war materials. Cluster bombs typically release numerous small bombs that can cause indiscriminate killings over a large area. Bombs that have not yet exploded can sit on the ground for several years before going off. The United States says it has received written assurances from Kiev that Ukrainian soldiers will not use weapons in Russian or urban areas.

While in Britain, Mr. Biden will also meet King Charles for the first time after the coronation.

After that, on Tuesday and Wednesday, he will meet with the military alliance of 31 western countries – NATO, in Vienna. The agenda includes promoting arms stockpiling and reviewing defense plans.

Finland, after joining in April, will participate in its first summit, while Turkey has blocked Sweden’s plan, accusing it of sheltering terrorists. It is hoped that Mr. Biden will seek support from Mr. Sunak to help in negotiations with Turkey.

Ukraine aspires to join NATO. However, speaking to the press before his trip, Mr. Biden stated that it cannot happen until the war ends, in line with the alliance’s long-term policy.

Referring to the mutual defense agreement within NATO, Mr. Biden explained that members pledge to defend every inch of each other’s territory, meaning “if war is underway, we are all in it.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had accepted this position earlier while requesting a “signal” that his country could join the alliance once the war is over. There is hope that he will participate in the summit this week.

Joe Biden visits the UK to meet with Rishi Sunak

The United States made the decision to fulfill Ukraine’s request for cluster bombs on Friday. Officials stated that it was part of an $800 million (£626 million) military aid package.

Mr. Biden informed CNN that it was a “very difficult decision,” but ultimately took action because “Ukrainians are running out of ammunition.”

However, several NATO allies immediately distanced themselves from this decision.

Both Canada and Spain, member countries, added their opposition to New Zealand’s stance.

Spain’s Defense Minister Margarita Robles said, “No to cluster bombs and yes to valid defense for Ukraine, which we believe should not involve cluster bombs.”

However, another signatory to the Convention and NATO member, Germany, stated that while it would not provide such weapons to Ukraine, it understands the American position.

One of their concerns regarding the supply is their failure rate – or the rate at which they malfunction. Unexploded bombs can cause indiscriminate explosions.

However, the United States has stated that its cluster bombs have a lower failure rate compared to the bombs Russia has been using in the Ukrainian conflict.

Ukraine has pledged that weapons will not be used in civilian areas, and it will monitor and report on their use. However, Russia dismissed these assurances as “unworthy.”

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