US President Joe Biden has issued a statement pledging to affirm his “special relationship” with the UK when he meets British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at this week’s G7 summit in the UK and discuss matters including the impasse in Northern Ireland.
In an article for the Washington Post published on Sunday before his first foreign trip as president, Biden wrote: “In the United Kingdom, after meeting with prime minister Boris Johnson to affirm the special relationship between our nations, I will participate in the G7 summit.”
“This group of leading democracies and economies has not met in person in two years due to the coronavirus. Ending this pandemic, improving health security for all nations and driving a robust, inclusive global economic recovery will be our top priorities,” the US president wrote.
Biden added that he would use his time during the summit to realize “America’s renewed commitment to our allies and partners,” and “rally the world’s democracies” against the most significant threats of the world, including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
Birden is also reportedly expected to speak to Johnson about disagreements over the Brexit deal, expressing support for its Northern Ireland protocol, which has met fierce opposition from unionists and loyalists who say it separates the region from the rest of the UK.
The Times reported that Biden is expected to tell Johnson that the US sees the protocol as a crucial part of maintaining long-term peace in Northern Ireland and, in particular, the Good Friday Agreement, for which the US is a guarantor.
The paper cited sources saying that Biden is expected to warn the prime minister that a potential trade deal between the US and the UK would be damaged if the situation is not resolved, while also telling leaders in Brussels that he expects the EU to be more “flexible” and less “bureaucratic.”
Biden, who is of Irish descent, in March reaffirmed his support for the Good Friday Agreement after tensions over the protocol led to violent rioting.
The protocol was initially set up to prevent a hard land border in Ireland by effectively keeping Northern Ireland inside the single market.
Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, are due to meet Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on Sunday to coincide with the end of the G7 summit, Buckingham Palace announced earlier.
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