Tuesday, May 24

This is how the secret Biden meeting came about

Last Sunday, SK 903 landed on Newark outside New York. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre was to chair several meetings of the UN Security Council, of which Norway holds the presidency in January.

In the days before leaving for the United States, the Prime Minister’s office worked to arrange a meeting with the Biden administration.

Støre himself made direct contact with Biden’s security adviser Jake Sullivan before Christmas. The Prime Minister knows the adviser well from the time when Sullivan worked for Hillary Clinton. It was at the same time as Støre was Minister of Foreign Affairs.

CLOSE PROGRAM: The Prime Minister is preparing for the next meeting in his hotel room.

CLOSE PROGRAM: The Prime Minister is preparing for the next meeting in his hotel room.

Unusually close

– The United States has not unlimited courtesy visits to offer. Støre’s personal initiative means a lot, says political commentator Eirik Bergesen to TV 2

It is nevertheless unusual for the Prime Minister himself to be so close to this type of detailed planning.

The meeting with Sullivan at the Norwegian embassy in Washington DC was nailed down shortly before departure.

In place in New York, Støre completed his set program. He also ran a morning walk in Central Park. On the second lap around the water at the Reservoir, one of the bodyguards from the Secret Service had to give up for the 61-year-old’s pace. He was quickly replaced with a new one.

 Photo: Daniel Sannum Lauten

Photo: Daniel Sannum Lauten

Breakfast was eaten at John’s Coffee Shop. Two eggs and bacon, as usual. The slightly tired diner has been the place of origin since Støre worked for former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland in the 90s.

 Photo: Daniel Sannum Lauten

Photo: Daniel Sannum Lauten

The program in New York included, among other things, two meetings of the Security Council. On Wednesday afternoon, Støre and his entourage were on their way to Pennsylvania station in Manhattan. The train to Washington DC was scheduled to depart at 3 p.m.

NEW YORK: Jonas Gahr Støre had a tight schedule in the American city.

Train trouble

Problems arose along the way. There was a full train stop on the train lines to the American capital. The conductor informed that it could take up to two hours before the train could start running again.

Støre and his people finally arrived at the Norwegian embassy, ​​but too late for the meeting with the national security adviser.

The Americans moved the meeting to the next day, and now they invited Støre to the White House.

Jonas Gahr Støre arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC on Thursday at one o’clock. Like all guests on the west wing of the White House, he had to take a covid test to get in. Only then did he learn that President Biden also wanted to meet him.

– It is unusual for such meetings to take place in that way. It is a sign that Støre has a tremendous standing in international politics, and that he has something to bring that Biden wants to listen to, says Bergesen.

Eirik Bergesen, who can be seen in TV 2 program Norwegian conditions, has a background as a diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is well acquainted with how international politics works.

– Even though Norway and the United States have a good relationship, President Biden does not spend time with a Norwegian prime minister if he does not think it is relevant.

US EXPERT: Eirik Bergesen.  Photo: Erik Edland / TV 2

US EXPERT: Eirik Bergesen. Photo: Erik Edland / TV 2

In comparison, Erna Solberg was invited to the then President Barack Obama and the Oval Office only after sitting 940 days in the Prime Minister’s chair.

Støre had a brief meeting with the president during the climate summit in Glasgow this autumn. 105 days after he became prime minister, they met again in Washington DC.

FIRST MEETING: Prime Minister Erna Solberg and President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.  Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB

FIRST MEETING: Prime Minister Erna Solberg and President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB

West Wing

Støre and Sullivan met at the security adviser’s office, the neighboring office of Vice President Kamala Harris. They talked about the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine, and about Afghanistan.

Half an hour later, Støre was followed through the narrow corridors in the west wing (West Wing). On the way to the Oval Office, he passed both the Situation Room and the Roosevelt Room. Inside the office, there was a fire in the fireplace. Biden welcomed the Prime Minister. The two leaders talked about the fireplace and the president’s sauna fascination.

– Should I call you president or prime minister, joked Biden, according to Støre.

He referred to the Norwegian Prime Minister’s presidency of the UN Security Council this week.

UN: Jonas Gahr Støre chaired two meetings of the Security Council.

UN: Jonas Gahr Støre chaired two meetings of the Security Council.

These meetings usually take place in more formal forms, with a handful of advisers on both sides. This time it was different. Security adviser Sullivan left the room towards the end of the meeting and let Biden and Støre talk together under four eyes.

PEOPLE: It is usually crowded when the president receives a visit.  Here Barack Obama and Jens Stoltenberg.  Photo: Daniel Sannum Lauten

PEOPLE: It is usually crowded when the president receives a visit. Here Barack Obama and Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Daniel Sannum Lauten

UNDER FOUR EYES: Jonas Gahr Støre and Joe Biden.  Photo: Adam Schultz / The White House

UNDER FOUR EYES: Jonas Gahr Støre and Joe Biden. Photo: Adam Schultz / The White House

– My impression is that they find each other personally. I perceive that Biden and Støre are in an equal political situation. Both trust it to be a bit boring, says Eirik Bergesen.

The Prime Minister described the meeting as pleasant and serious.

– It was about the status of what is happening with Russia and the United States around Ukraine. We also discussed Afghanistan and discussed cooperation on climate change. It was useful and I am grateful that Biden took the time to visit, Støre told TV 2 on Thursday.

Reference-www.tv2.no

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