Joe Biden: Jen Psaki defends international ‘credibility’ of US
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson will travel from the UN in New York to Washington this afternoon to sit down with US President Joe Biden. Mr Johnson is aiming to build on the success of the recently agreed Aukus deal, seeking to strengthen ties and put the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal behind the two nations.
The Prime Minister will urge world leaders to take “concrete action” on climate change this week at the UN’s General Assembly in New York.
Mr Johnson will visit the White House for the first time this week since Mr Biden took office.
He is expected to discuss other key topics with the US leader, ranging from Afghanistan and travel restrictions between the US and UK.
Ahead of the visit, the PM said: “World leaders have a small window of time left to deliver on their climate commitments ahead of COP26.
“My message to those I meet this week will be clear: future generations will judge us based on what we achieve in the coming months.
“We need to continue to make a case for a sustainable recovery from coronavirus rooted in green growth.
“And we have a responsibility to ensure the benefits of that growth extend to all, no matter where they are born.”
British officials were taken by surprise on Monday when the US announced its decision to enable fully vaccinated people into the US from November.
The ban on travellers from the UK has been in force since March 2020 when the pandemic began gathering pace.
The current rules bar entry to most non-US citizens who have been in the UK and a number of other European countries, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil within the last 14 days.
Under the new rules, foreign travellers will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination before flying, obtain a negative COVID-19 test result within three days of travelling, and provide their contact information.
These fully vaccinated individuals will not be required to quarantine.
Boris Johnson had been expected to push for the US to reconsider the travel ban in the country in his meeting with President Biden this week.
Aukus Agreement and French upset at the deal
Mr Johnson discussed relations with Washington ahead of the bilateral meeting.
Speaking to reporters on his flight, Mr Johnson said: “As we go to Washington our relations with the USA are about as good as they have been at any time in decades.
“When we last flew out a couple of years ago we had all sorts of pebbles in the shoe.”
The relations have been greatly soothed in recent days – particularly with the forging of the new Aukus agreement between the USA, UK and Australia.
Under the deal, Australia will acquire new nuclear-powered submarines – and in the spirit of this agreement, Mr Johnson is scheduled to sit down with Australian PM Scott Morrison this evening.
The Aukus agreement prompted the wrath of French President Emmanuel Macron due to the cancellation of an agreement the country held with Australia.
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Anger in Paris is still raw with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian ridiculing Britain’s role in the pact and accusing the UK of “permanent opportunism”.
Mr Le Drian added: “There has been a lie, there has been duplicity, there has been a major breach of trust, there has been contempt, so it’s not OK between us, it’s not OK at all. That means that there is a crisis.”
Mr Biden and Mr Johnson have both made statements about wanting to deescalate tensions with France.
On Sunday, a White House official said: “President Biden very much values our alliance with France, and looks forward to speaking with President Macron and finding a way forward.”
Mr Johnso is also said to be determined to avoid “annoying the French” and even took steps to appease Mr Macron’s anger by saying the UK’s “love for France is ineradicable”.
Afghanistan will however be another key topic of conversation.
Mr Johnson defended Joe Biden’s withdrawal from the nation despite widespread criticism and the dampening effect the move has had on the US leader’s approval ratings.
Speaking to US TV platform, NBC Today Show on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said: “America had been there for 20 years – it’s a respectable argument to say enough is enough.”
He added: “You can’t endlessly subcontract the Government of your country to other people. There’s got to be some sort of system.”
The UK PM however did say things could have been handled “a bit differently”.
The US and UK leaders are expected to discuss efforts to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the region.
Trade agreements have been a key concern for Britain since the Brexit transition period concluded.
Mr Johnson is however not expected to discuss a possible free-trade agreement with the US leader.
He told reporters: “On the FTA the reality is that Joe has a lot of fish to fry.
“He’s got a huge infrastructure package, he’s got a build back better package.
“We want to do it, but what we want is a good FTA, a great FTA.
“I would much rather get a deal that really works for the UK than get a quick deal.”
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