British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (PA)

January 25, 2021

US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have discussed combating climate change, containing COVID-19, and ensuring global health security as well as shared foreign policy priorities in China, Iran and Russia.

Johnson congratulated Biden on his inauguration in their first conversation since the US president’s inauguration, the British prime minister’s office said Saturday.

The White House in a readout of the call said that Biden “conveyed his intention to strengthen the special relationship between our countries” and also “noted the importance of cooperation, including through multilateral organizations, on shared challenges.”

The leaders said they hoped to meet soon and would work together on the United Nations’ global climate change summit to be held in Scotland in November.

The White House said shared challenges would include “combatting climate change, containing COVID-19, and ensuring global health security” and that Biden intended to “revitalize transatlantic ties, underscoring the critical role of NATO to our collective defense and shared values.”

The leaders “re-committed to the NATO alliance” and “shared values in promoting human rights and protecting democracy”, Johnson’s statement added. Trump was highly critical of the transatlantic alliance.

The leaders also agreed on the “significant challenges facing the world during the pandemic.”

Johnson praised Biden for joining the Covax initiative, a global pool of coronavirus vaccine doses for poorer nations.

The leaders additionally “discussed the need for coordination on shared foreign policy priorities, including China, Iran, and Russia,” the White House said.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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