British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden are expected to reaffirm relations between their two countries on the eve of the G7 summit, despite Washington’s warnings about Brexit tensions over slow fire.
The couple will have to agree on a “Letter from the Atlantic” when they meet Thursday in Cornwall, in the south-west of England, for their first face-to-face conversations since Biden took office in January.
The agreement will be based on the historic joint statement of 1941 made by then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill and then-President Franklin D Roosevelt, which set out Washington and London’s vision of the new world order after World War II.
Johnson and Biden will also set up a working group to try to resume travel between the United Kingdom and the United States, which has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and discuss how to provide vaccines to the world’s poorest countries. .
But negotiations could be overshadowed when, as expected, Biden warns Johnson – one of the leaders of the 2016 Brexit campaign – about the frictions in Northern Ireland triggered by the UK’s exit from the European Union.
The US leader is concerned that Johnson’s heated disagreements with the bloc over the so-called Northern Ireland protocol of the Brexit agreement could undermine a peace agreement signed by the United States in 1998, the Friday Agreement Sant, which put an end to 30 years of bloodshed in the region.
“President Biden has been very clear about his strong belief in the Good Friday Agreement as the basis for peaceful coexistence in Northern Ireland,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at aboard Air Force One.
“Any measure that endangers or undermines it would not be well received by the United States.”
Biden seeks to “tie allies close”
Biden’s visit to the UK marks his first trip abroad since he became president.
After meeting Johnson, he will attend the G7 summit in Cornwall from Friday to Sunday, with the British Prime Minister and leaders from France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada.
Biden will then attend a NATO summit on Monday, a US-EU summit on Tuesday and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva the next day.
He will try to take advantage of the trip to enchant his multilateral credentials after the tumult of Donald Trump’s presidency, which left many American allies in Europe and Asia baffled and some alienated.
James Bays, of Al Jazeera, a Cornish informant, said Biden’s idea was to “link his allies” after Trump’s years in office.
“We will see it first with the G7 partners, then with the NATO alliance that certainly suffered wounds after Trump … then with the EU,” Bays said.
Biden wants to “get all these allies to appear on the same page with different global issues,” including efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and how to deal with rival powers such as China and Russia, he added. .
Since the G7 met two years ago, COVID-19 has killed more than 3.7 million people worldwide and decimated economies affected by strict closures and mass layoffs.
As criticism of a WHO study in January and February grows over the origins of the coronavirus, the U.S. president will also encourage G7 leaders to call for a second WHO investigation, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing a draft statement.
Hours after this report, EU leaders themselves called for a new unrestricted study on the origins of COVID-19, which was first identified in central China in late 2019.
“Researchers need full access to everything they need to really find the source of this pandemic,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Brussels.
The head of the European Council, Charles Michel, echoed von der Leyen’s call.
“The world has a right to know exactly what happened so we can learn the lessons,” he said.
But EU diplomats have said EU support for a new study is mostly symbolic, as the bloc would not be directly involved.
Last month, the U.S. mission to the United Nations in Geneva said the original WHO report was “insufficient and inconclusive” and called for a second investigation, including China.
Biden said in May that U.S. intelligence agencies were pursuing rival theories, including the possibility of a lab accident in China.
The WHO report said the virus had probably been transmitted from bats to humans through another animal and that “introduction through a laboratory incident was considered an extremely unlikely route.”