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Biden to take first overseas trip as president in June for G-7, NATO summits

Biden to take first overseas trip as president in June for G-7, NATO summits
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President BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE plans to take his first overseas trip as commander-in-chief during the month of June, attending a Group of Seven (G-7) summit in the United Kingdom.

The overseas trip, first reported by The Associated Press, will also include a stop in Belgium, where Biden is expected to meet with European leaders and attend a NATO summit.

“This trip will highlight his commitment to restoring our alliances, revitalizing the Transatlantic relationship, and working in close cooperation with our allies and multilateral partners to address global challenges and better secure America’s interests,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Five states have yet to administer one dose of vaccine to half their populations MORE said in a statement Friday.

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The G-7 summit in Cornwall, from June 11 to 13, will be the first in-person meeting of the leaders in two years after former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE postponed last year’s summit, which was supposed to be held in the United States. The meeting was never scheduled.

Biden will travel to Brussels following the G-7 meeting, where he will attend a June 14 NATO summit and a meeting with European Union leaders.

The decision to schedule the trip reflects a view from the White House that the country is turning a corner on the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden, who along with other top aides is vaccinated against COVID-19, has abstained from overseas trips in his first months in office as he urges Americans to continue to follow public health guidance by avoiding travel, wearing masks and distancing from others. Biden has traveled a handful of times domestically.

The Biden administration continues to implement restrictions on overseas travelers and has stepped up travel warnings for multiple countries due to rising virus cases and dangerous variants.

Asked if the administration planned to lift international travel restrictions in timing with Biden’s trip at a briefing later Friday, Psaki said she had no information on a potential lifting of restrictions and deferred to health officials.

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“I can’t make a prediction of that. That is based on the advice and recommendations from our health and medical team,” Psaki said. “I don’t have anything to predict on that front.”

Psaki also said there was a difference between Biden traveling aboard Air Force One on a diplomatic trip and mass numbers of individuals traveling internationally.

With his first overseas trip, Biden is signaling the importance he places on alliances with European countries and NATO, after Trump’s rocky relationship with European leaders and open criticism of NATO. Trump took his first international presidential trip to Saudi Arabia, becoming the first president ever to travel to the Middle East for their first overseas sojourn.

Biden has also extended an invitation to Russia to hold a summit in Europe this summer to discuss myriad issues amid tensions, but U.S. and Russian officials have not yet agreed to schedule a meeting.

Psaki on Friday did not mention the possible meeting with Russia but said that the White House may share “potential additional elements” of the trip in the future. 

The announcement of the trip comes as Biden wraps up a two-day virtual summit on climate change with leaders from 40 countries. Biden has held virtual bilateral meetings in his first three months and hosted his first foreign leader at the White House last week when he welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

— Updated: 12:24 p.m.