The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, received the President of the United States, Joe Biden, at La Moncloa Palace on Tuesday, as part of the NATO Summit in Madrid. This is the US leader's first visit to Spain since occupying the Oval Office and his first bilateral meeting with Sánchez, who described the meeting as an "important milestone" in relations between the two countries.
The meeting, which lasted just over an hour, has served for Sánchez and Biden to agree, among other issues, to increase cooperation in security and defence matters, and to strengthen transatlantic ties with the drafting of a new joint declaration that renews the one signed in 2003 by the then Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Piqué.
"Spain is an indispensable partner", Biden said in the joint press conference at the end of the meeting. The US President thanked Sánchez for the reception at La Moncloa and for organising the Atlantic Alliance Summit, which he described as "historic" as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. "NATO is going to be a fundamental element of transatlantic security", the Democrat reiterated.
During the meeting, Biden told Sánchez of the Department of Defence's intention to "increase the naval presence" in the Atlantic with the deployment of two new Arleigh Burke destroyers at the Rota base in Cadiz, which will be added to the four operational since 2014 and 2015, as announced by the White House National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, and which are integrated into NATO's anti-missile shield to deal with possible attacks by foreign powers.
Sánchez confirmed this request with the announcement of the deepening of the defence area, and took the opportunity to highlight Spain's military deployment in the Baltic in the framework of NATO: "Spain has doubled the number of troops stationed in Latvia". In this regard, the President of the Government stressed the importance of reinforcing the Eastern Flank "and recognising the threats coming from the Southern Flank".
Sánchez stressed the "strategic partnership" between Washington and Madrid in the promotion of democratic values: "We defend an international order based on rules. Putin's invasion represents a violation of international law that confirms the need to renew our commitment. "It is the greatest challenge to peace in Europe since the end of the Cold War," the president said.
Air Force One landed minutes before the meeting at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base, where an entourage led by King Felipe VI welcomed the President, whose wife, Jill Biden, has been in Madrid since Monday in the company of Queen Letizia. Also present at the reception were the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence, José Manuel Albares and Margarita Robles.
Once the press conference at La Moncloa was over, the US delegation took the President to the Royal Palace in Madrid, where the King of Spain was once again awaiting him. "It is a great pleasure to welcome the President of the great American nation to Spain," said Felipe VI, standing next to Biden, a first-rate economic and commercial partner. "I am grateful for the great opportunity to be here in Madrid, in this majestic palace. I travelled to Spain as vice-president and it is an honour to come as president to warn of the threats we face today," responded the US leader, the day's main protagonist.
Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.