The British Prime Minister looks forward to deepening the alliance with the US on the first phone call with Biden since his inauguration.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday he was looking forward to working with US President Joe Biden on their shared goals, including combating climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson used his first call with the U.S. President to greet Biden’s announcements that the United States would re-join the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and World Health Organization, and they discussed the prospect of a free trade agreement.
“It’s great to speak to President Joe Biden tonight,” Johnson said on Twitter. “I look forward to deepening the long-standing alliance between our two countries as we advance a green and sustainable recovery from COVID-19.”
The White House said Biden and Johnson spoke about working together, including through multilateral organizations, to curb climate change and fight COVID-19.
Nice to speak to President @JoeBiden tonight. I look forward to deepening the longstanding alliance between our two countries as we advance an environmentally friendly and sustainable recovery from COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/Y4P3G74PPz
– Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 23, 2021
Biden also expressed his intention to “strengthen the special relations between our countries and revitalize the transatlantic relationship, which underscores NATO’s vital role in our collective defense and shared values,” the White House said in a press release.
A spokeswoman for Johnson said leaders had “also discussed the benefits of a possible free trade agreement between our two countries.” The UK left the European Union last year, and a new allied trade deal is a higher priority for Johnson than for Biden.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the government has no timetable for drawing up a new trade deal as Biden’s focus is mainly on getting the coronavirus pandemic under control and urging Congress to do so on May 1. Adopt the president’s $ 9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.
Janet Yellen, Biden’s Treasury candidate, also signaled during her confirmation hearing earlier this week that Biden was unwilling to negotiate new trade deals.
“President Biden knew that he would not sign any new free trade agreements until the US made major investments in American workers and our infrastructure,” said Yellen.
The London-based Sunday Telegraph reported that Johnson was the first leader outside of North America to speak to Biden “after his scheduled call was brought forward two days, which is seen as a major boost to the special relationship between Britain and the US”.
The heads of state and government also discussed “the need to coordinate common foreign policy priorities, including China, Iran and Russia,” the White House said.
On Friday, Biden spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.