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Biden arrives in Spain to attend NATO summit, pledges billions for food security to finish G7

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Biden arrives in Spain to attend NATO summit, pledges billions for food security to finish G7
U.S. President Joe Biden arrives at Torrejon Airbase outside Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday ahead of a NATO summit on Wednesday. Photo by Paul Hanna/UPI | License Photo

June 28 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden attended the final session of the G7 summit in Germany on Tuesday before he left for Spain to take part in a NATO Summit there, which will focus on Russia's war in Ukraine and the alliance's road map over the next several years.

Before leaving Germany on Tuesday, Biden met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. At the meeting, all three leaders promised ongoing support for Ukrainian forces, which have been under constant Russian attack for more than four months.

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The leaders also announced a new pledge of $5 billion to strengthen global food security. The United States will give more than half of that amount.

"$2 billion will go to help save lives through direct humanitarian interventions, and $760 million of that will be for sustainable near-term and medium-term food assistance to help enhance the resilience and productivity of food systems around the world, particularly in vulnerable regions," a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

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At the NATO summit in Madrid, Biden is scheduled to attend a bilateral meeting with Spanish President Pedro Sanchez. The two will focus on NATO-led support for Ukraine and other pressing matters, the White House said.

Other topics of discussion will include economic prosperity in Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa and cooperation on global challenges such as climate change and health security, the White House said in a statement.

Later Tuesday, Biden was scheduled to meet with Spain's King Felipe VI and attend a dinner for heads of state.

At the NATO summit in Spain, President Biden and other leaders are expected to explore a "strategic concept" for the alliance's plans over the next 10 years. File Photo by Toms Kalnins/EPA-EFE

All parties at the NATO summit will endorse a "strategic concept" that lays out the defensive alliance's goals over the next decade.

NATO has been a key player in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has consistently decried the alliance's expansion eastward to include former Soviet-bloc states like Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Putin has also argued against Ukraine becoming a NATO member. Ukraine has expressed interest in joining, but presently has only an official working relationship with the group.

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Sweden and Finland have applied for NATO membership and are expected to be admitted in the near future. Officials from both countries met with a Turkish delegation at NATO headquarters in Belgium on Monday to discuss the admissions.

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Turkey has opposed membership for Sweden over the Nordic country's support for and association with Kurdish workers in the Scandinavian country. The Kurdish Workers' Party, also known as the PKK, is an oppositon group in Turkey and is classified as a terrorist group by many western nations, including Sweden. The PKK is mostly based in southern Turkey and northern Iraq.

Stockholm, however, has expressly said that it supports Kurdish workers in Sweden who are not part of the PKK. But Turkey claims that Swedish support has helped the dissident group.

Biden will meet on Wednesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO summit in Spain to discuss the matter, the White House said. National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that Biden and Erdogan will talk about U.S.-Turkey relations and the applications for Sweden and Finland. Sullivan also said that Biden will meet Wednesday with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol.

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Admission to NATO requires unanimous support from all members. Turkey, which joined NATO in 1952, has already blocked an attempt to fast-track the applications from Finland and Sweden. Ankara's grievances against Finland appear to be mainly due to its association with Sweden in their bid to join NATO.

"If Finland and Sweden want to join a security alliance they have to give up to their support to a terror organization (PKK) and not give refuge to them," former Turkish ambassador Hakki Akil said according to CNBC. "On the other hand they have also to accept Turkish requests of extradition of 30 terrorists, [which are] very specific cases."

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