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British PM hails Biden as 'a big breath of fresh air'

ForexJun 10, 2021 05:23PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden disembark from Air Force One after landing at RAF Mildenhall ahead of the G7 Summit, near Mildenhall, Britain June 9, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque 2/2

By Steve Holland and Guy Faulconbridge

CARBIS BAY, England (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday as "a big breath of fresh air", and praised his determination to work with allies on important global issues ranging from climate change and COVID-19 to security.

Johnson did not draw an explicit parallel between Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump after talks with the Democratic president in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay on the eve of a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies.

But his comments made clear Biden had taken a much more multilateral approach to talks than Trump, whose vision of the world at times shocked, angered and bewildered many of Washington's European allies.

"It’s a big breath of fresh air," Johnson said of a meeting that lasted about an hour and 20 minutes.

"It was a long, long, good session. We covered a huge range of subjects," he said. "It’s new, it’s interesting and we’re working very hard together."

The two leaders appeared relaxed as they admired the view across the Atlantic alongside their wives, with Jill Biden wearing a jacket embroidered with the word "LOVE".

"It’s a beautiful beginning," she said.

Though Johnson said the talks were "great", Biden brought grave concerns about a row between Britain and the European Union which he said could threaten peace in the British region of Northern Ireland, which following Britain's departure from the EU is on the United Kingdom's frontier with the bloc as it borders EU member state Ireland.

The two leaders did not have a joint briefing after the meeting: Johnson spoke to British media while Biden made a speech about a U.S. plan to donate half a billion vaccines to poorer countries.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Biden, who is proud of his Irish heritage, was keen to prevent difficult negotiations between Brussels and London undermining a 1998 U.S.-brokered peace deal known as the Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to Britain that Biden had a "rock-solid belief" in the peace deal and that any steps that imperilled the accord would not be welcomed.

Yael Lempert, the top U.S. diplomat in Britain, issued London with a demarche - a formal diplomatic reprimand - for "inflaming" tensions, the Times newspaper reported.

Johnson sought to play down the differences with Washington.

"There’s complete harmony on the need to keep going, find solutions, and make sure we uphold the Belfast Good Friday Agreement," said Johnson, one of the leaders of the 2016 campaign to leave the EU.

Asked if Biden had made his alarm about the situation in Northern Ireland very clear, he said: "No he didn't.

"America, the United States, Washington, the UK, plus the European Union have one thing we absolutely all want to do," Johnson said. "And that is to uphold the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, and make sure we keep the balance of the peace process going. That is absolutely common ground."

The 1998 peace deal largely brought an end to the "Troubles" - three decades of conflict between Irish Catholic nationalist militants and pro-British Protestant "loyalist" paramilitaries in which 3,600 people were killed.

Britain's exit from the EU has strained the peace in Northern Ireland. The 27-nation bloc wants to protect its markets but a border in the Irish Sea cuts off the British province from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Although Britain formally left the EU in 2020, the two sides are still trading threats over the Brexit deal after London unilaterally delayed the implementation of the Northern Irish clauses of the deal.

Johnson's Downing Street office said he and Biden agreed that both Britain and the EU "had a responsibility to work together and to find pragmatic solutions to allow unencumbered trade" between Northern Ireland, Britain and Ireland."

British PM hails Biden as 'a big breath of fresh air'
 

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Comments (6)
Ad Cline
Ad Cline Jun 10, 2021 6:47PM ET
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the American progressive movement started in the late 19 th Century. that movement helped create the American middle class, and the most powerful force for democracy on the planet. those that support Donald Trump's attempt to destroy American democracy and install his form of authoritarianism, whether they are American or Russian, hate democracy and progresive movements of any kind. President Biden is attempting to bring back decency and respect for America and it's ideals. those that are against President Biden's attempts, are supporting America's enemies.
Patrick Turner
Patrick Turner Jun 10, 2021 5:31PM ET
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Biden, sadly is nothing more than a puppet of American progressives who hate America. That wont end well
Simon Manning
Simon Manning Jun 10, 2021 12:36PM ET
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Biden's American Last platform going just as expected...North Irish peace is the number one concern of most Americans.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Jun 10, 2021 12:36PM ET
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It is nice to have a president who can help with all issues. We are a world super power, with that comes certain responsibilities. Glad Biden understands what being a President means (and what being Presidential means, no more temper tantrums from the big/huge baby).
Patrick Turner
Patrick Turner Jun 10, 2021 12:36PM ET
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Chris Cummins he is an embarassment. Why not just say it?
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Jun 10, 2021 12:36PM ET
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Patrick Turner  Well, he is not a racist and that may embarrass you. Sorry.
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Ad Cline Jun 10, 2021 12:36PM ET
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Patrick Turner, yes Donald Trump was an Embarrassment.
mohamed alhajri
mohamed alhajri Jun 10, 2021 12:30PM ET
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America treating mini Britain like a cute puppet
Fernando Lazarini
Fernando Lazarini Jun 10, 2021 6:04AM ET
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In the old Trump's days we never heard about that.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Jun 10, 2021 2:04AM ET
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China Biden is kissing the left Eu, making eu great again.
IceIce Baby
IceIceBaby Jun 10, 2021 2:04AM ET
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Just reminding the island to keep themselves to the treaty. "If UK does not respect EU why would it respect US?", can Biden think about right.
 
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