BFF-28 UK’s Johnson reaches out to Biden on climate and trade

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UK’s Johnson reaches out to Biden on climate and trade

LONDON, Nov 8, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on
Sunday strove to bury differences with president-elect Joe Biden as he
stressed the enduring UK-US alliance and a future partnership against climate
change.

Johnson’s hostile comments in the past about the Democratic administration
of the former vice president and Barack Obama have come back to bite him as
Biden prepares to take office following his hard-fought victory over Donald
Trump.

But the Conservative prime minister emphasised the bigger picture, as he
downplayed discord now over post-Brexit plans for Northern Ireland, whose
peace agreement is dear to Biden.

“The United States is our closest and most important ally. And that’s been
the case under president after president, prime minister after prime
minister. It won’t change,” Johnson said in a broadcast interview.

“And I look forward to working with president Biden and his team on a lot
of crucial stuff for us in the weeks and months ahead: tackling climate
change, trade, international security,” he said.

Johnson is set to get in touch with Biden “shortly, in due course,”
according to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who has also been
stressing collaboration with the US on climate as well as security and
intelligence.

The British premier highlighted common values with Biden on protecting
democracy, free speech, human rights, free trade and international rules.

“All of these things are currently under threat. And you have the United
States and Britain standing together, as they have done many times in the
past, to protect those values.

“So I think there’s far more that unites us than divides us.”

In September, Biden warned Britain could forget hopes for a US trade deal
after Brexit takes full effect on January 1, if Northern Ireland becomes a
“casualty” of the European Union divorce.

Johnson said his government’s difficult trade talks with both the EU and
the US were “two separate things”, and said “the broad outlines are pretty
clear” for an agreement with Brussels.

Securing a transatlantic trade pact was never going to be “a complete
pushover under any US” administration, he said, but stressed: “I think
there’s a good chance we’ll do something.”

Johnson and Biden will have less difficulty on seeing eye to eye on climate
change, after Trump denied the crisis and abandoned US support for the UN’s
Paris Agreement on tackling global emissions.

The prime minister noted that next year, he will be presiding over both the
G7 group of rich nations and the UN’s next global climate summit, COP 26.

“And I think now with president Biden in the White House in Washington, we
have the real prospect of American global leadership in tackling climate
change,” he said.

BSS/AFP/ARS/1943 hrs