Updated Jun 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Afghanistan, cyber defense on the agenda for Biden in Brussels

Joe Biden arrives at Melsbroek Military Airport in Brussels, on June 13, 2021

Joe Biden arrives at Melsbroek Military Airport in Brussels on June 13. Photo: Yves Herman/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden touched down in Brussels on Sunday evening ahead of two days of talks with NATO and European Union leaders as part of his first foreign trip as president.

Driving the news: Biden was greeted on the tarmac by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and a slate of other officials, including Douglas Jones and Mark Libby, the U.S. Permanent Representatives to NATO and the EU respectively.

  • Biden will meet with NATO leaders on Monday and EU leaders on Tuesday, per Reuters.
  • Also penciled into Biden's schedule Monday is a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The state of play: National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One that Biden plans to discuss the ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan with NATO allies as well as the "increasingly important" issues of cyber security and defense.

  • Erdoğan said Sunday that he hopes his meeting with Biden will help diffuse tensions between the United States and Turkey. Sullivan noted that the two will discuss a number of critical issues, including developments in Syria and Libya.

The big picture: Biden's trip to Brussels is intended to "reassure allies that America is indeed back while also encouraging them to invest in their own defense," writes Axios' Dave Lawler.

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