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Boris and Biden: A diplomatic odd couple faces pressure to define the US-UK relationship

June 10, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 19.7%. 2 min read.

In style and in substance, President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are two very different men leading two countries whose relationship makes up one of the most important global alliances.

Washington (CNN)In style and in substance, President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are two very different men leading two countries whose relationship makes up one of the most important global alliances.

The White House has indicated Biden will touch on a number of issues during his engagements with Johnson, including the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, financing global infrastructure in the developing world, maintaining a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and other issues related to the Indo-Pacific and the Middle East.

But their meeting on Thursday also comes at a time of tension over Northern Ireland's role in the UK's Brexit agreement with the European Union, which is a key issue for Biden.

Biden plans to press Johnson on Northern Ireland during their first face-to-face meeting on Thursday, according to senior administration officials.

Biden has raised the issue with Johnson in telephone calls ahead of the summit, and diplomats have discussed the matter with British counterparts in the lead-up to the two leaders' bilateral talks.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday that Biden is expected to bring up Northern Ireland during his meeting with Johnson, but told reporters his comments would be reserved to making "statements of principle. "

Charles Kupchan, a former senior director for European affairs at the White House National Security Council during the Obama administration, told CNN much of the discussion between Johnson and Biden in front of cameras is expected to be cordial.

So I don't expect to see any differences between Biden and Johnson emerge in public-facing events," Kuphan, now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said.

The Atlantic reported this week that in an early call with Biden, Johnson told the President he disliked the phrase "special relationship" when Biden used it because it seemed needy and weak.

"The point of these working groups is to share data and set out both milestones and criteria to enable a reopening of travel between our two countries as swiftly as possible, consistent with public health guidance," Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One. In addition, Biden and Johnson are expected to agree to pursue a bilateral technology agreement that will be signed next year, according to a source familiar with the matter.

by summa-bot

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