Leaders from all over the world have been arriving in the Spanish capital for the Nato summit today, Tuesday 28 June, but all eyes have been on US president Joe Biden, whose plane, Air Force One, touched down at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base just after 3pm.
Moments before the president’s arrival, the USA announced that it will be sending two more destroyers to the Naval Base in Rota (Cadiz province, Andalucía), bringing the number of ships which form part of the anti-missile shield there to six.
The president was greeted at the air base by King Felipe, who then introduced Spain’s foreign minister José Manuel Albares, Margarita Robles, the Minister of Defence, Jaime Alfonsín, the head of the royal household, and the US ambassador to Spain, Julissa Reynoso.
President Biden was the only one of the 41 leaders to be welcomed to Spain by the king. Twenty minutes later, he was on his way to La Moncloa for a meeting with Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez. The White House is hoping that this visit will serve to augment the bilateral coordination between the USA and Spain over support for Ukraine and pressure on Russia.
After the meeting with the prime minister, Biden was due to go on to the Royal Palace for a private meeting with King Felipe before the gala dinner given by the monarch for all the heads of state and government attending the NATO summit.
Spain has close trade relations with the USA and now, with the war in Ukraine and the diplomatic crisis with Algeria, a new factor has entered the relationship between the two governments: the USA is now the main supplier of gas to Spain, which arrives on LNG tankers.
Some details of President Biden’s agenda on the day of his arrival have not been disclosed for security reasons. For example, it is not known what he is scheduled to do after leaving the Royal Palace and then returning for the gala dinner, which begins at 7.40pm.