Boris Johnson and Joe Biden vow to deepen ties and cooperate on tackling climate change

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Jan 24, 2021, 07.14 AM(IST)

Joe Biden and Boris Johnson Photograph:( Agencies )

Story highlights

Johnson used his first phone call with the US president to welcome Biden's announcements that the United States would rejoin the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate and the World Health Organization, and they discussed the prospects of a free trade deal

Boris Johnson and Joe Biden on Saturday vowed to deepen ties and cooperate on tackling climate change in their first conversation since the US president's inauguration, the British prime minister's office said.

Johnson used his first phone call with the US president to welcome Biden's announcements that the United States would rejoin the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate and the World Health Organization, and they discussed the prospects of a free trade deal.

Biden on Friday spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his first call to a foreign leader.

The White House in a readout of the call said that Biden "conveyed his intention to strengthen the special relationship between our countries and also "noted the importance of cooperation, including through multilateral organizations, on shared challenges".

"Great to speak to President Joe Biden this evening," Johnson said on Twitter. "I look forward to deepening the longstanding alliance between our two countries as we drive a green and sustainable recovery from COVID-19."

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The White House said Biden and Johnson talked about cooperation, including through multilateral organizations, on curbing climate change and fighting COVID-19.

Biden also conveyed his intention to "strengthen the special relationship between our countries and revitalize transatlantic ties, underscoring the critical role of NATO to our collective defence and shared values," the White House said in a release.

A spokeswoman for Johnson said the leaders "also discussed the benefits of a potential free trade deal between our two countries." Britain left the European Union last year. Biden's call with Johnson was his first with a European leader since taking office.

The conversation appeared aimed at warming frosty relations after Biden in 2019 described Johnson as a "physical and emotional clone" of Donald Trump, his predecessor as US president.

Biden has also been critical of Johnson's Brexit policy, but the Downing Street statement said the leaders "discussed the benefits of a potential free trade deal between our two countries".

Johnson said he intended to resolve current trade issues "as soon as possible".

Biden, who has Irish roots, had warned ahead of his election that if Brexit damaged the 1998 Good Friday Agreement he would not consent to a trade deal. That agreement ended 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland.

Johnson praised Biden for swiftly reversing policy decisions made by his predecessor. 

He "warmly welcomed" Biden's decision to put the United States back into the Paris climate accord and rejoin the World Health Organization. The prime minister also praised Biden's commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

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