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Biden and Johnson set to pledge to lift US-UK Covid-19 travel restrictions

Biden and Johnson are expected to announce a new travel task force that will explore options and make recommendations on how to safely resume international travel. The president is expected to meet with Johnson on Thursday on his first overseas trip as president ahead of the Group of Seven summit to be held in southwest England.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Wednesday that the United States had established two working groups of public health experts, one with the United Kingdom and one with the European Union.

“The purpose of these working groups is to share data and define both milestones and criteria to allow travel between our two countries to reopen as quickly as possible, in accordance with public health guidelines,” Sullivan said. to reporters aboard Air Force One.

Biden and Johnson are also expected to agree on Thursday on a new Atlantic Charter modeled on the historic declaration made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1941 which set US and British goals for the world after. the end of the world war. II, according to Sullivan.

“There will be a reminder of the Atlantic Charter, which is now 80 years old, so there will be an updated statement of principles between the US and UK as free societies and peoples. free speaking out on what we believe in the 21st century, ”Sullivan told reporters.

The charter will set out the priorities, values ​​and challenges which include the defense of democracy, the reaffirmation of the importance of collective security, the construction of a more just and sustainable world trading system, the fight against cyber attacks, the fight against the climate crisis, the protection of biodiversity and the end of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the source.

Biden and Johnson are also expected to agree to pursue a landmark bilateral tech deal that will be signed next year, according to the source. The deal will focus on reducing the barriers UK tech companies face when trying to work with their US counterparts.

The personal dynamics between the leaders of the United States and Great Britain have often played a key role in the “special relationship” between the two transatlantic powers. Roosevelt and Churchill were known to be close, as were Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President Bill Clinton, and then, to the surprise of many, Blair and US President George W. Bush during the Iraq War.

Johnson was a favorite of US President Donald Trump, who praised him for his support for Brexit, Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. During the 2020 campaign, Biden called Johnson a “physical and emotional clone” of Trump.

Biden still has deep reservations about Britain leaving the European Union – a move Johnson has championed and advocated as prime minister. Biden is expected to pressure Johnson on the issue during their talks, and in particular how it might affect the Good Friday deal in Northern Ireland.

But the leaders, hoping to re-energize the relationship, promise to focus on their common ground on issues such as climate change and Covid-19 vaccinations rather than their differences. Their meeting before the start of the G7 is a signal of the importance both sides place on the relationship, officials said.

Johnson, as host of the summit, has set goals to vaccinate the world by 2022. He will also host a major climate summit later this year, which Biden has given considerable importance to in his attempt to reduce global carbon emissions.

The two worked together earlier this year when Biden hosted his own climate summit, which was to serve as a precursor of sorts to Johnson’s event, which is slated for fall in Scotland.

The new Atlantic Charter should be an important symbolic reaffirmation of the value that both nations place on close ties.

The original document was published on August 14, 1941 and was considered one of the first key steps towards the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. The charter laid out a vision for the post-war world and its main points included the a nation’s right to choose its own government, which the United States and Britain would not seek to achieve territorial gains from war, the relaxation of trade restrictions and a plea for post-war disarmament .

The announcement will come as the president seeks to renew the United States’ commitment to its allies and partners abroad and underscore its own commitment to working with other countries to resolve global issues. The president arrives in the UK on Wednesday and will also travel to Belgium and Switzerland for meetings with other world leaders, including a much-anticipated summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After the summit, the President and First Lady Jill Biden will meet British Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on Sunday. Meeting Biden would make him the 13th US president the 95-year-old Queen has met.

The president will then travel to Brussels to participate in the NATO summit on Monday, where he is expected to affirm the United States’ commitment to NATO, transatlantic security and collective defense.

Biden will then attend the United States-European Union summit on Tuesday, where leaders are expected to discuss global health security, global economic recovery, the climate crisis, digital and trade cooperation, strengthening democracy and response to mutual foreign policy concerns.

Biden will then travel to Geneva, Switzerland, to meet with Putin on June 16. Biden plans to underscore U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and uplift Belarus, among others, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

This story was updated with additional details on Wednesday.


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