Biden kicks off first day of G7 with COVID on the agenda


President Biden is gathering with six other world leaders for the Group of Seven summit in the United Kingdom on Friday, where developing an international strategy to combat the COVID pandemic is the sole issue on the day one agenda.

As part of that effort, some G7 countries will follow the US’ lead and announce their own plans to donate coronavirus vaccines to developing countries during Friday’s meetings.

Biden announced Thursday that the US would donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and that other countries would follow on Friday. He also said the nations would unveil a broader global strategy on combating the pandemic.

To kick off the G7 — which consists of the US, UK, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy — leaders gathered Friday morning for a “family photo” of the group on the beach at Carbis Bay.

The photo was staged to keep the leaders socially distanced, and leaders greeted each other with “elbow bumps.”

Afterward, the group headed into the only working session of the day, where the COVID efforts will be the only topic of discussion.

Carbis Bay Hotel G7 meeting
From left, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi gather for an EU coordination meeting prior to the G7 meeting at the Carbis Bay Hotel.
AP

Speaking to reporters from the White House on Monday, Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the commander-in-chief was confident going into the G7 summit.

“[W]hat I believe we will deliver just out of the G7 alone, in addition to the other meetings he’s going to have on this trip, will show that the United States retains profound capacity to help rally the world’s democracies to solve big problems,” he noted.

In the evening, the world leaders will be hosted for a reception and dinner by the British royal family at the Eden Project, a botanical garden with picturesque views.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be in attendance, though the event is the work of Prince Charles, the Duke of Cornwall.

Reports have alleged that Charles, who is next in line to the throne after his mother, has been eager to meet with Biden to discuss his climate change efforts.

Once king, Charles will lose his ability to push his own projects, including his current Terra Carta campaign to make businesses commit to being more eco-friendly.

The future king met with Biden’s climate czar John Kerry on Thursday along with a group of business and policy leaders.

During that summit, Charles said he wanted them all to take advantage of this “game-changing opportunity to drive forward the partnerships between government, business and private-sector finance” and help to establish a new, green economy.

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry poses in front of the Terra Carta with Britain's Prince Charles,
Britain’s Prince Charles, who is passionate about climate change efforts, poses with US special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry.
REUTERS

Given that he is not the ruling monarch, however, it would be a breach of royal protocol for anyone in the royal family to meet the US president before the Queen.

Her Royal Highness will be in attendance at Friday’s festivities, however, allowing her to meet Biden first.

Following the G7, which concludes Sunday, the US president will be joined by first lady Jill Biden to meet Queen Elizabeth again, this time for a more formal summit at Windsor Castle.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive for the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive for the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.
REUTERS

Afterward, the first lady will head back to the US, while the president will embark for Brussels for meetings with NATO leaders, including lukewarm ally Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Biden will stay in Belgium for two nights before heading to Geneva for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Much has been made about the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders, especially given the tense state of US-Russia relations.

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