Vice President Kamala Harris will lead the US delegation to the annual Munich Security Conference, the White House said Friday, as a sweeping defense aid package for Ukraine and Israel is stalled in Congress.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has just returned from a trip to the Middle East, will also attend the forum next week, dubbed the Davos of Defense, which brings together top Western diplomats and military officials.
Harris will deliver a "major foreign policy speech" and hold several bilateral meetings with foreign leaders from February 15 to 17 to discuss support for Ukraine in its war against the Russian invasion and the situation in the Middle East, the White House said in a statement.
Joe Biden's White House has for months been negotiating with the Republican opposition in Congress on a $60 billion package for Ukraine as well as $14 billion for Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza.
The US Senate moved one step closer to passing the package on Thursday, but its future remains uncertain due to strong opposition from right-wing allies of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
EU leaders, meanwhile, last week finally overcame stalling by right-wing Hungarian leader Viktor Orban and gave the green light to 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in economic aid.
Some in Europe are concerned about the strength of Washington's support of Kyiv as well as the prospect of Trump, the likely Republican nominee in the November presidential election, returning to the White House.
Every year, the Munich conference brings together the military elite from around the world and is seen as a barometer of transatlantic relations.
"Throughout her engagements, the Vice President will underscore the importance of sustaining US leadership, strengthening our alliances and partnerships, and defending international rules and norms," the White House statement said.
For his part, before heading to Munich, Blinken will visit Albania "to reaffirm the strength of the United States' relations with.. a key partner for stability in the Western Balkans."
After decades of isolation under the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, the small Balkan country joined NATO in 2009 and is a candidate for EU membership.
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter