NATO Summit: Biden will ask Sánchez to expand the destroyers at the Rota base by 50% | International

One of the central issues of the meeting between Pedro Sánchez and Joe Biden in La Moncloa, which has just begun after the greeting on the steps of the palace of both presidents, will be the expansion of the US military presence in Spain. The US president will formally communicate to the Spanish the intention of the United States to increase from four to six the destroyers of the Arleigh Burke class deployed at the Rota naval base (Cádiz), as revealed by the National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan. The forecast is to also increase the number of sailors from 1,200 to 1,800. Spain has already informally accepted this proposal, and now the process will begin to do it formally.

Biden landed at around three in the afternoon at the Torrejón de Ardoz base, where he was received by King Felipe VI. And then he has gone to La Moncloa, where he plans to meet with Sánchez for an hour, in the first formal meeting that both have had since Biden arrived at the White House.

Sánchez, and the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, met this Tuesday to open the summit that will decide the course of the Alliance in the next decade and which is being held until Thursday in Madrid, a city shielded by a large device police. “The purpose is clear,” said the Spanish president. “Transmit a message of unity on the part of the allies, of unity of the democracies that come together to defend freedom, democracy, political plurality, an international order based on rules, in the United Nations charter and the charter from washington [en la que se basa la OTAN]”, in a clear reference to the contrast with Russia and other totalitarian countries. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia will focus the event in which more than 40 delegations from different countries participate. Stoltenberg has stressed that he hopes “to move forward with the accession of Sweden and Finland.” This afternoon, the Secretary General of NATO will meet with the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the leaders of Sweden and Finland to address Ankara’s veto of the candidacy of the two Nordic countries.

The holding of the NATO summit in Madrid will serve as the framework for a bilateral meeting between Biden and Sánchez long desired by Spanish diplomacy in which, although there is no set agenda, the situation created in Europe will most likely be addressed due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the instability of the Sahel, which has become the epicenter of jihadist terrorism, relations with Latin America and the maintenance of some tariffs on Spanish products and sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration in application of the Helms Burton Act —which regulates the US embargo on Cuba—as well as the presence of US troops at the Rota (Cádiz) and Morón de la Frontera (Seville) bases.

Biden arrives in Madrid from Bavaria (Germany), where he has participated in the G-7 meeting, and the meeting lasts approximately one hour. Biden is accompanied by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. President Sánchez will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, Manuel de la Rocha, Secretary General of Economic Affairs, and Emma Aparici, Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.


According to the head of Spanish diplomacy, the meeting will serve to advance on those issues on which they are already cooperating. The Spanish government recently attended the Summit of the Americas, held in Los Angeles, as an observer, and promised to collaborate with a plan to alleviate the pressure of Central American emigration to the United States, increasing the granting of work permits to seasonal workers from these countries in Spain.

Washington is suspicious of Madrid’s attitude towards regimes such as those in Cuba, Venezuela or Nicaragua, but the new Administration has adopted a more pragmatic position by relaxing, for example, the embargo on Venezuelan crude oil to alleviate the shortage derived from the sanctions on Russia. After his interview with Sánchez, Biden will go to the Royal Palace, where he will hold an audience with the King who, in a singular gesture of deference, plans to receive him at the Torrejón base.

Before the meeting scheduled for this Tuesday in La Moncloa, Biden and Sánchez had only held fleeting conversations on the occasion of their coincidence at the NATO summit in Brussels, in June 2021, and at the G-20, last October in Rome. In addition, they have had several telephone conversations, on the occasion of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, in August last year, and in recent days, regarding the Madrid summit. Although La Moncloa made arrangements for Biden to receive Sánchez in Washington before going to Madrid, the White House alleged scheduling problems. Sánchez, who barely had any relationship with Donald Trump, from whom an ideological abyss separated him, has sought a meeting with Democrat Biden since he arrived at the White House. For the Spanish Executive, the US president has a very similar agenda and it was a matter of time before this meeting took place due to the obvious political coincidences. Sánchez has always looked for that trip to the White House that until now he has not been able to close, but this meeting could be a first step to achieve it.

In La Moncloa, the coincidence also stands out in a decisive matter such as the fight against climate change. In fact, Biden invited Sánchez to the telematic summit he organized on this matter in April 2021. It is not formally planned to talk about Morocco, but about the Sahel and the security risks posed by instability in this area, but he It is true that Sánchez’s turn on Western Sahara is more in line with the positions of the US, which has Rabat as an ally against Algeria, which is closer to Russia. Spain had traditionally been in an intermediate position, but the shift has brought it closer to Morocco, and, therefore, to the US, while it has distanced it from Algeria, which has withdrawn its ambassador and has suspended its friendship treaty with Spain.

The visit of the American president has been preceded by that of his wife, Jill Biden, who arrived on Sunday afternoon and this Monday visited, in the company of Queen Letizia, the headquarters of the Spanish Association Against Cancer, a disease in which combat is personally involved. Both are scheduled to visit a reception center for Ukrainian refugees in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid) on Tuesday, before participating in the gala dinner that the King and Queen will offer at the Royal Palace to the more than 40 heads of state and government in attendance. to the NATO summit that begins this Tuesday and will end on Thursday.

Follow all the international information in Facebook Y Twitteror in our weekly newsletter.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button