The British Prime Minister “ looks forward to deepening the alliance ” with the United States in the first phone call with Biden since taking office.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday he looked forward to working with US President Joe Biden on their common goals, including tackling climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson used his first phone call with the US president to welcome Biden’s announcements that the US would join the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the World Health Organization, and they discussed the outlook of a free trade agreement.
“Nice 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 drive a green and sustainable recovery from COVID-19.”
The White House said Biden and Johnson had spoken of cooperation, including through multilateral organizations, to curb climate change and tackle COVID-19.
Great to talk to the president @Joe Biden tonight. I look forward to deepening the long-standing alliance between our two countries as we drive a green and sustainable recovery from COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/Y4P3G74PPz
– Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) 23 January 2021
Biden also expressed his intention to “strengthen the special relations between our countries and revitalize transatlantic ties, stressing NATO’s essential role in our collective defense and our shared values,” the White House said in a statement. .
A spokeswoman for Johnson said the leaders “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 trade deal between the allies is a higher priority for Johnson than for Biden.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that the administration did not have a timetable to strike a new trade deal, with Biden’s attention largely focused on containing the coronavirus pandemic and on Congress to pass the president’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.
Janet Yellen, Biden’s candidate for Treasury secretary, also signaled during her confirmation hearing earlier this week that Biden was unwilling to negotiate new trade deals.
“President Biden has made it clear that he will not sign any new free trade agreement until the United States invests heavily in American workers and our infrastructure,” Yellen said.
The London-based Sunday Telegraph reported that Johnson was the first executive outside North America to speak to Biden “after his scheduled call was moved forward two days, which will be seen as a major boost for the special relationship between the UK and the US ”.
The leaders also “discussed the need for coordination on common foreign policy priorities, including China, Iran and Russia,” the White House said.
On Friday, Biden spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.