politics

Boris Johnson will meet Joe Biden at White House this week to smooth tensions


The PM is expected to raise the Covid travel ban in talks with the US President, with Brexit and the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal likely to feature

Boris Johnson will visit the White House for talks with US President Joe Biden this week
Boris Johnson will visit the White House for talks with US President Joe Biden this week

Boris Johnson will sit down with Joe Biden at the White House this week to build bridges after the chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister will also try to mend the rift with the US President over the Northern Ireland border as he seeks to strike a post-Brexit trade deal.

He flies out to New York on Sunday where he will use a key United Nations summit to press for more action on climate change amid fears global efforts are falling short.

Mr Johnson will urge world leaders to “take concrete action on coal, climate, cars and trees” but faces an uphill struggle persuading them to do more.

The PM is desperate for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, which 100 leaders have already confirmed they will attend, to be a success.








Boris Johnson and Joe Biden met at the G7 summit in Cornwall – but the PM will be hoping to build bridges after the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal
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Image:

Getty Images)



Ahead of the trip, he 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.

“I will be pushing them to take concrete action on coal, climate, cars and trees so we can make a success of COP26 and keep our climate goals within reach.”

But the PM’s more immediate diplomatic test will be smoothing over divisions with the US on a slew of issues including Afghanistan, Northern Ireland and coronavirus restrictions.

He is expected to raise the US travel ban with the President which has been imposed on almost all Brits since last year, while US tourists are now allowed to the UK.

The two countries have suffered a rocky period in relations since Mr Biden took office in January – despite smiling together for the cameras at the G7 summit in Cornwall.

Government insiders claim the PM felt “let down” by the President’s refusal to extend the departure date from Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul to get more people out.








Chaotic scenes at Kabul airport last month as Afghans tried to flee the country
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Image:

AKHTER GULFAM/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)



The Foreign Office was forced to deny Pentagon claims that British officials pushed US counterparts to keep a gate open at Kabul airport before a deadly bomb attack.

Mr Johnson will also try to persuade the US administration that he is not putting peace in Northern Ireland at risk by threatening to suspend Brexit agreements with the European Union.

He has been warned by key Democrats not to “destroy” the peace process if he wants to get a trade deal with the US – with the breakdown in talks branded “problematic”.

Mr Johnson regards a trade deal with the US as a big Brexit prize but senior Government insiders admit it is proving difficult.

However, Britain and the US this week struck a security pact with Australia which includes the US providing nuclear-powered submarines, a show of strength aimed at China.

The AUKUS deal sparked a diplomatic row with France as it meant Canberra cancelled a $90 billion order with Paris to provide diesel-powered subs.

A furious French President Emmanuel Macron recalled his country’s ambassadors to the US and America – while officials accused Britain of acting “opportunistically”.








New Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will accompany the PM to the United States
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Image:

AFP via Getty Images)



On the visit, Mr Johnson will address the UN General Assembly in New York and meet world leaders for a series of meetings.

He will travel to Washington for the Biden summit and also hold talks with vice-president Kamala Harris and senior US politicians.

New Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will join him on the US trip and will join the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to try to agree an approach to Afghanistan.

The US tour is the PM’s first major foreign visit since he was elected, after a trip to India pencilled in for earlier this year was cancelled as coronavirus swept the country.

His visit to the UN in 2019 was overshadowed by the Supreme Court ruling that his prorogation of Parliament was unlawful.


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