Biden assured him at the meeting that he could “trust” America, Steinmeier said Friday afternoon (local time) in Washington after a visit to the White House. Sending a “signal” during the conversation is important for both. “We will continue to support Ukraine in its struggle for the country, its independence and its democracy.” Nevertheless, the federal president was worried about current developments in the US Congress.
The trip to Washington was a surprise. Steinmeier was still in Cape Verde on Thursday, where he had just completed a two-day official visit. From there he actually wanted to travel to Portugal to attend a meeting of the EU’s non-executive leaders in Porto. But a call from the US president intervened. The U.S. president’s schedule on Friday made only somewhat casual reference to the fact that Steinmeier would briefly “pause” the White House in the afternoon — an unusual formulation.
Biden now has great cause for concern: The interim budget passed by Congress over the weekend included no additional aid for Ukraine. This does not mean that the US will stop supporting Ukraine. But fresh funds are needed as the money approved so far has run out. US President Biden is trying to allay concerns among NATO allies and partners that US military aid to Kiev could dry up. In addition, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives was impeached in a historic vote – and the important chamber has been largely deadlocked ever since.
Steinmeier said he was among many in Germany who watched Congress’ recent developments with concern. Tensions prevailed in political Washington. But Biden is convinced that the solution will be to continue supporting Russia-attacked Ukraine, Steinmeier said. The US president had no expectations for Germany, but “on the contrary” expressed his satisfaction with what Germany had achieved in the past few months. “People in Ukraine know that what Germany promises will be fulfilled. You can trust Germany.
In a lengthy statement from the White House after the meeting, Ukraine was mentioned only briefly. The alliance with Germany was also said to be key to “ongoing efforts” to support the people of Ukraine. The White House cited German-American Friendship Day as the official reason for the visit. In the United States, German American Day is celebrated on October 6. It commemorates the arrival of the first German settlers in Philadelphia in 1683. Schreinmeier emphasized: “The German-American friendship is deep and strong.”
Steinmeier met William Burns, head of the CIA, in Washington. However, he did not provide any information about the content of the conversation, saying only that they discussed “current conflicts” and “geopolitical changes”. After his meeting with Biden, the federal president also made it clear that liberal democracies are currently under pressure – they have to prove themselves again. Democracy can only succeed if political divisions are not made irreconcilable, but if there is a constant struggle to balance interests.
Steinmeier has visited the US several times as a federal president, but has always avoided Washington during Donald Trump’s presidency. Relations between the two politicians are considered strained since Steinmeier, who was secretary of state during the US election campaign, called Trump a “hateful preacher” in August 2016. Trump’s “America First” policy, which has often run counter to the rules-based international order, was strongly rejected by Steinmeier.
Steinmeier began his journey to Washington from Cape Verde with his closest colleagues. In addition, a small plane from the Bundeswehr Air Division arrived in the island republic. The large plane that Steinmeier flew there brought the rest of the delegation back to Germany.
“Friend of animals everywhere. Web guru. Organizer. Food geek. Amateur tv fanatic. Coffee trailblazer. Alcohol junkie.”