LONDON LANDING: Tuesday marks the official start of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s leaders’ meeting, which inevitably should have some stormy debates given the political climate.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump left behind wintery conditions in the Northeast to board Air Force One. Upon arrival at London’s Stansted Airport, FLOTUS disembarked wearing a red Raf Simons-designed Calvin Klein coat. Perhaps borrowing a page from the Duchess of Cambridge who is known to repeat outfits, Trump sported a look from seasons past. This week’s trip will mark the Trumps’ third visit to London since the President’s inauguration.
The Trumps will be joining heads of state and government and military leaders who are gathering at the NATO leaders’ meeting outside of London. Seventy years after NATO was created as a military alliance, there is considerable division among its members. This week’s whistle-stop two-day meet-up will address geopolitics, security issues and the shifting roles of Russia and China on the world’s stage, among other issues. What was supposed to be an anniversary event hosted by former Prime Minister Theresa May now falls in the hands of her successor, Boris Johnson. Nearing midday Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will address the “NATO Engages: Innovating the Alliance” conference.
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Later in the afternoon, the deputy secretary-general will address the conference. Then the Trumps along with the other dignitaries will attend a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II. Spain’s King Felipe VI, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Italy’s Sergio Mattarella, Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Greece’s Prokopis Pavlopoulos are among the 29 NATO heads of state. All of the above will have an early start Wednesday with leaders’ arrival scheduled for 7:45 a.m., followed by “an offical handshake ceremony” with the NATO secretary-general and British prime minister. Shortly thereafter, there will be a photo with NATO heads of state and government.
Once the photo-op is complete, a meeting of the North Atlantic Council will be held and the two-day power session will be capped off with a press conference led by Stoltenberg. Afterward, the Trumps — as well as their international counterparts — will be airborne to return to their respective homelands.