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Biden and Johnson to sign new ‘Atlantic Charter’ on trade and defense as part of Covid takeover

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will agree on Thursday on a new Atlantic charter, modeled on the 1941 agreement, which outlines eight key areas on which the United States and the Kingdom -Uni plan to collaborate.

The new charter will stress that “although the world is a very different place from 1941, the values ​​the UK and the US share will remain the same,” according to a preview of the updated charter released by the United Kingdom’s office. Johnson at 10 Downing Street.

These values ​​include “the defense of democracy, the reaffirmation of the importance of collective security and the construction of a just and sustainable world trading system,” the statement said.

The charter will also commit to tackling the modern challenges of cyberthreats and climate change and putting an end to the coronavirus pandemic. As part of the deal, Biden and Johnson will also work to reopen travel between the US and UK as soon as possible. They plan to create a new travel task force that will make recommendations on the safe reopening of international travel.

“Many people in the UK and US have been barred from seeing family and friends for more than 400 days due to coronavirus travel restrictions,” Johnson’s office said. “The task force will work to explore options for resuming travel between the UK and US and will ensure that the UK and US closely share their thinking and expertise on travel policy. international in the future. “

To help end the pandemic on a global scale, the two leaders are expected to agree to work together on genomic sequencing and examination of Covid-19 variants.

They also plan to agree to a new deal that would be signed next year to help ease the hurdles UK tech companies face when working with their US counterparts.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed the update to the Atlantic charter agreement aboard Air Force One as he traveled to the UK on Wednesday for Biden’s maiden voyage abroad as president.

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

The Atlantic Charter was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1941, outlining their goals after World War II. Johnson’s office described it as “one of the greatest triumphs in UK-US relations and has done more than any other deal to shape the world order, directly leading to the creation of the UN and NATO “.

Biden and Johnson are expected to hold a bilateral meeting Thursday in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, in southwest England, ahead of the G7 summit with other world leaders, which begins on Friday.

Tensions over the impact of Brexit

But while the two leaders will seek to invoke a spirit of historic unity on Thursday, there was evidence of early tensions.

Their collaborative announcement was somewhat eclipsed in the UK after the Biden administration warned Johnson not to let Brexit threaten the peace in Northern Ireland.

The British Prime Minister was the main architect of his country’s exit from the European Union, which Biden has always opposed. The president, who has Irish origins, is among those who fear Brexit will ignite sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland.

Decades of conflict between predominantly Catholic “nationalists” – who want Northern Ireland to reunite with the Republic of Ireland – and predominantly Protestant “unionists” – who want the region to remain part of the UK – were calmed down by a 1998 peace accord called the Good Friday Accord.

Brexit has strained this deal as it changes complex trade rules and threatens to upset the delicate settlement between the province’s two rival communities.

“President Biden has been very clear about his steadfast belief in the Good Friday Agreement as the foundation for peaceful coexistence in Northern Ireland,” Sullivan told reporters on Air Force One. “Any measure that endangered or undermined it would not be welcome in the United States.”

And while the Atlantic Charter represents the latest chapter in the “special relationship” between Washington and London, the British government said this week that Johnson dislikes the term. An aide told The Atlantic in a profile on Johnson that the PM thought the expression seemed needy.

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