US President Joe Biden has arrived in the UK ahead of the NATO summit in Lithuania later this week. Amidst growing concerns from several allies regarding his decision to send cluster bombs to Ukraine. The UK and Canada, among others, have voiced their apprehension about supplying these weapons. They are widely banned due to the significant threat they pose to civilian populations.
The United States maintains that these cluster bombs are necessary as Ukraine’s weapon stocks are dwindling. President Biden is scheduled to meet with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday. They are expected to discuss various issues, including the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
While Prime Minister Sunak has refrained from directly criticizing President Biden following the cluster bomb announcement on Friday. He emphasized on Saturday that the UK is one of 123 countries committed to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This international treaty prohibits the production or use of these weapons.
US allies have taken a stand against the cluster bomb decision
In contrast, some other US allies have taken a stronger stance against the cluster bomb decision. New Zealand, a partner nation of NATO, expressed concerns on Sunday, stating that these munitions could cause “huge damage to innocent people.”
Cluster bombs typically release numerous smaller bomblets that can indiscriminately kill over a wide area. Unexploded bomblets can pose a threat on the ground for many years before detonating.
The United States asserts that it has received written assurances from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. That Ukrainian troops will not employ these weapons in Russia or urban areas.
During his visit to the UK, President Biden is also scheduled to have his first meeting with King Charles since the monarch’s coronation.
Subsequently, NATO members, comprising 31 Western nations, will convene in Vilnius on Tuesday and Wednesday. The summit’s agenda will include discussions on boosting ammunition stockpiles and reviewing defence plans.
Finland will attend its first summit since joining NATO in April, while Sweden’s plans to follow suit have been obstructed by Turkey. Turkey accuses Sweden of harbouring terrorists. President Biden is expected to seek support from Prime Minister Sunak to assist in brokering a resolution with Turkey.
The NATO summit in Lithuania is anticipated to be a critical platform for fostering cooperation among member nations and addressing the pressing security concerns in the region.