US President Joe Biden met German Chancellor Angela Merkel to further advance the “strong” bilateral ties between the two countries.
“Today, we're talking about further advancing US-German relationship which has been strong and is getting stronger,” Biden told reporters at the Oval Office on Thursday as he welcomed Merkel for her maiden bilateral visit during his over six months old administration.
“I consider her a personal friend as well as a great friend to the United States. We saw each other at the G7 and then we saw each other again at the NATO meeting,” he added.
“One of the things that I want to talk about is the enduring friendship that the chancellor has been so responsible for nailing down and making sure it continues. And we're ready to dive in. The cooperation between the United States and Germany has been strong, and we hope to continue that, and I'm confident we will,” Biden said.
Meeting Biden after G7 and NATO summits, Merkel told reporters the two countries now have an opportunity to talk more about their bilateral relationship.
“We can also talk about and address matters that relate to immediate neighbours, geopolitical issues. That's going to be on our agenda,” she said.
The bilateral meeting that followed included Antony Blinken, Secretary of State; Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor; Daleep Singh, Deputy National Security Advisor and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council.
Later in the evening, the dinner hosted by Biden in honor of Merkel would include former Secretary of States Hillary Clinton and Colin Powell.
Merkel arrived in Washington on Wednesday evening. Early morning, she joined Vice President Kamala Harris for a working breakfast at the VP’s residence at the US Naval Observatory.
After a meeting with business leaders, the Chancellor was presented with an honorary degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Following the ceremony, Merkel delivered remarks and answered questions submitted by JHU students.
As Merkel visits Washington, more than 40 people have died and dozens are missing in deadly floods in Germany and Belgium.
Merkel has expressed shock and sorrow and assured that everything possible will be done to find those who are still missing.
After leaders of Japan, South Korea, Israel and Afghanistan, Merkel is the fifth foreign official and the first European leader to visit the White House since Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The visit is seen as Merkel’s final trip to Washington as a Chancellor before she steps down from her post in September following the German federal election.
During her 16-year tenure, Merkel visited the United States at least 19 times, including 11 visits to the White House, according to the Office of the Historian at the Department of State.