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In a surprise visit to Washington, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is set to meet Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns on Friday.
The German government and the CIA declined to comment what the meeting would pertain to.
This development precedes Steinmeier’s planned talks with President Joe Biden on the same day to commemorate German-American Day. As a result of this sudden decision, Steinmeier withdrew from a scheduled European Union event in Portugal.
This meeting between the two leaders is their first as respective heads of state, with rising concerns regarding the Western backing for Ukraine amidst its conflict with Russia’s invasion. While Biden faces criticism from Congressional Republicans over his continued support for Ukraine, his $24 billion aid request for Kyiv was excluded from a recent congressional funding bill.
Germany’s stance is also under scrutiny as Chancellor Olaf Scholz faces pressure to provide Ukraine with Taurus cruise missiles.
The White House mentioned that the upcoming discussions between Biden and Steinmeier would reinforce their bond and their “shared commitment to support Ukraine as it defends itself from Russia’s invasion.” Steinmeier, who assumed the presidency in 2017, previously held the position of foreign minister under former Chancellor Angela Merkel.