President Biden will receive NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House on Tuesday afternoon to discuss long-term strategy in Ukraine and who will oversee the progress of the 31-member military alliance.
The visit comes at a critical time for the Western alliance as Ukraine mounts a counter-offensive to reclaim territory claimed by Russia and NATO members prepare for a summit next month in Vilnius, Lithuania. The White House has also faced questions in recent weeks about who will support Mr Biden to succeed Mr Stoltenberg, who has led the alliance since 2014 and is expected to step down in September.
“The President believes that whoever is the Secretary General of NATO should be a person who the entire alliance can get behind and lead the alliance into the future, because there is a transformative future for the alliance” said John Kirby, a spokesman for the National. That is what the Security Council said on Monday. “When this war ends, however it ends, NATO will be different.”
Several countries are vying for their own officials to succeed Mr Stoltenberg and Mr Biden’s opinion carries a lot of weight as the United States spends more on defense than any other member of the alliance.
While British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was visiting Washington last week, Biden was asked if it was time for a British official to lead NATO. “That remains to be seen,” he said.
Mr Biden also recently met with Mette Frederiksen, the Prime Minister of Denmark and another potential contender for the position.
The meeting with Mr. Stoltenberg was initially scheduled for Monday, but Mr. Biden had to postpone it for a day to get a root canal.
The meeting also comes as some Republican members of Congress debate how — and if — future U.S. aid will be delivered to Kiev. Mr Biden has said the United States is committed to helping Ukraine.
“We continue to talk to the Ukrainians about some of their long-term defense needs and what they should look like,” Kirby said Monday, pointing out that even after the end of the war, Ukraine will have legitimate security needs with a long border with Russia .”