Almost a year and a half has passed since the brief meeting that did not reach the minute between Pedro Sánchez and Joe Biden at the NATO summit in Brussels in June 2021 and that the opposition did not hesitate to ridicule. Since then, relations between the two presidents have taken a 180-degree turn and the images that come from the G-20 summit that was held this week in Bali (Indonesia) show an informal closeness and even a certain friendship between the two presidents. .

In the midst of these two episodes, Sánchez and Biden have met in different forums and they highlight four circumstances that could have been key to this change: The US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Spanish turn with Morocco regarding Western Sahara, the war in Ukraine and the NATO summit in Madrid, where Sánchez acted as host.

Until June 2021, Sánchez and Biden had not even spoken on the phone since the second’s proclamation as US president in January of that year. The week before the Atlantic Alliance summit, it was reported from La Moncloa that a meeting between the two would take place to boost relations between the two countries. But at the moment of truth, that meeting was limited to half a minute in which the head of the Executive chased his American counterpart through the corridors of the NATO headquarters. The government tried to downplay what happened.

Things began to change with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in the face of the Taliban advance in August 2021. Biden then called Sánchez to ask him to use the Morón and Rota bases for the evacuation of Afghans. The answer was affirmative and Washington was in charge of thanking the Spanish cooperation on several occasions.

The start of the turnaround was staged in October of last year at the G-20 summit held in Rome, in which both leaders greeted each other and exchanged views in a brief meeting that did not last a minute either, but was more relaxed and less forced than the previous one. .

But the main key to the turnaround could have been Sánchez’s decision in March of this year to accept Morocco’s road map for Western Sahara after 40 years of remaining faithful to the United Nations resolutions that advocate an “agreed solution “. The Biden administration had endorsed the turn taken by his predecessor Donald Trump in 2020 that approved the Rabat project on autonomy for the Sahara and since then Washington has insisted on strengthening relations with Morocco.

Meanwhile, in February Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine had broken out, against which Sánchez has always maintained an unbreakable unity alongside the interests of the United States, despite the fact that Biden once again left Sánchez out. of the conversations with European leaders to face the conflict with the argument that the calls were made within the framework of the G-7, in which Spain is not included.

But at the end of June came the NATO summit in Madrid, which allowed Sánchez to hold a previous one-hour bilateral meeting that the US president described as “very warm and personal.” Spain and the United States signed a joint declaration -the first in 20 years- that concentrated a wide range of shared objectives in the field of defense, the economy, justice, migration and energy security. The great novelty was the agreement between both presidents to increase the number of US warships permanently stationed at the Rota naval base.

And at the end of the summit it was possible to see Sánchez together with his wife Begoña Gómez acting very comfortably as hosts for the leaders of the Atlantic Alliance at dinner and a night visit that they made to the Prado Museum with an attitude very close to Biden and his wife Jill.

This Wednesday, in Bali, Sánchez’s desire to maintain a fluid relationship with the US president seems to have been completed and both leaders have been seen sharing a very informal chat with some camaraderie between the two prior to a visit made by the leaders of the G -20 to a mangrove planting area in the Tahura Ngurah Rai Mangrove Forest Park, during which Sánchez could be observed very close to Biden.