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Biden in Europe: live updates

Credit…Doug Mills / The New York Times

Just two years ago, in the heat of the US presidential campaign, President Biden called British Prime Minister Boris Johnson a “physical and emotional clone” of President Donald J. Trump.

He didn’t mean that as a compliment.

But now, as the two stewards of Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with the United States prepare to meet face to face for the first time since Mr Biden took office, they will highlight the strength lasting alliance.

They are expected to focus on a shared vision of a sustainable global recovery from the pandemic and will evoke the powerful shared history of the two nations to make the point clear.

Mr Biden and Mr Johnson are expected to announce what is billed as a renewal of the Atlantic Charter – the post-war declaration of cooperation that Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented in 1941 during the Second World War.

Yet the fundamental issues that divide them remain.

Mr Biden opposed Britain’s exit from the European Union, a push Mr Johnson helped lead. The US president is also worried about Northern Ireland, as the Brexit deal has fueled tensions and threatened to rekindle sectarian tensions.

“President Biden has been very clear about his steadfast belief in the Good Friday Agreement as the foundation for peaceful coexistence in Northern Ireland,” White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Wednesday. aboard Air Force One, referring to the 1998 agreement that helped bring peace to the territory, which is part of the United Kingdom.

Mr Biden and Mr Johnson will meet on Thursday afternoon at Carbis Bay in Cornwall, ahead of Friday’s meeting of the Group of 7 Major Industrial Nations.

It’s the start of a week-long whirlwind tour that includes meetings with Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday, NATO officials and European Union leaders next week, as well as a summit with the Russian President Vladimir V. Putin.

Mr Biden began his first overseas trip as president on Wednesday night telling US troops in Britain that the future of the world depends on reestablishing long-standing alliances with Europe that have been “hardened” by the fire of war “and built by” generations of Americans. ” . “

Addressing the troops of RAF Mildenhall, he called his diplomatic opening a week “of essential”, saying that no nation acting alone could meet the challenges of the world. But he also vowed to stand up to opponents like China and Russia, pledging to tell Mr. Putin “what I want him to know.”

On the eve of meeting EU leaders shaken by the aggressive movement of Russian troops along Ukraine’s borders, Biden pledged to “respond robustly and meaningfully” to what he called “Harmful activities” carried out by Mr. Putin.

Mr Biden also framed his trip in broader terms as an effort to rally the United States and its allies in an existential struggle between democracy and autocracy.

“I believe we are at an inflection point in world history,” said Mr Biden, “a time when it behooves us to prove that democracies not only endure, but that they will excel while we are we are rising to seize huge opportunities in the new age. “

Biden in Europe: live updates
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One of the most difficult issues President Biden is expected to raise this week with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is the status of Northern Ireland, where Brexit-fueled tensions threaten the return of deadly sectarian violence.

The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 ended the Troubles, the 30-year guerrilla warfare between Catholic nationalists seeking to unite with the Republic of Ireland and majority Protestant trade unionists, who want to stay in the UK. The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland has all but disappeared, allowing the free movement of people and trade.

But now part of London’s Brexit deal with Brussels is igniting resentment among trade unionists. To avoid resuscitating a hard border with Ireland – an idea unpopular on both sides of the border – the Northern Ireland Protocol requires checks on goods moving between the north and the rest of the UK.

Creating a trade border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the country violates promises made by the British government and imposes an economic and psychological cost. Northern Irish people who want to stay in Britain feel betrayed and there have been fierce protests against the protocol.

“It hit the community here like a ton of bricks that this is a separation of Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK,” said David Campbell, chairman of the Loyalist Communities Council, which represents paramilitary groups which some say are agitating. troubles.

Mr Biden warned Mr Johnson, who campaigned for Brexit and negotiated the deal with Brussels, to do nothing to undermine the Good Friday deal. He is also considering the appointment of a presidential envoy for Northern Ireland.

“This agreement must be protected, and any measure that endangers or compromises it will not be welcomed by the United States,” Jake Sullivan, Presidential National Security Advisor, told reporters on Air Force One on Wednesday.

When asked if Mr Johnson has taken any action to jeopardize the deal, Mr Sullivan said: “President Biden is going to make policy statements on this front. He does not issue threats or ultimatums.

President Donald J. Trump has embraced Mr Johnson and Brexit, but Mr Biden has been colder with both. The new president is also a devoted Roman Catholic and Irish American, fueling speculation he is more sympathetic to the Irish nationalist cause.

Biden in Europe: live updates
Credit…Atul Loke for the New York Times

As with almost every other major event of the past year, the pandemic looms large during this week’s Group of 7 summit, with world leaders already pledging to do more to stop the coronavirus as they prepare for the three-day rally that begins on Friday.

In recent months, wealthy countries with robust vaccination campaigns have quickly moved towards inoculating large swathes of their populations. Now they are committed to helping the rest of the world achieve that goal as well.

In a statement on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is hosting the summit as Britain takes over the G7 presidency this year, said it was crucial to use this moment to act.

“The world needs this meeting,” he said. “We have to be honest: international order and solidarity have been severely shaken by the Covid. Nations have been reduced to the beggar my neighbor tactic in the desperate search for PPE, medicine – and, finally, vaccines, ”he added, referring to personal protective equipment.

He said the time had come to “put those days behind us”.

“Now is the time for the world’s largest and most technologically advanced democracies to shoulder their responsibilities and immunize the world, because no one can be properly protected until everyone has been protected,” he added.

President Biden, under pressure to deal with the global coronavirus vaccine shortage, will announce on Thursday that his administration will purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and donate it to around 100 countries over the next year, announced the White House.

“We need to end Covid-19, not just at home which we are doing, but everywhere,” Mr Biden told US troops at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, England on Wednesday evening. “There isn’t a wall high enough to protect us from this pandemic or the next biological threat we face, and there will be more. This requires coordinated multilateral action.

Pfizer said in a statement Thursday announcing the deal that the United States would pay for the doses at a “not-for-profit” price. The first 200 million doses will be distributed by the end of this year, followed by 300 million by next June, the company said. The doses will be distributed through Covax, the international vaccine sharing initiative.

“Fair and equitable distribution has been our North Star from day one, and we are proud to do our part to help immunize the world, a massive but achievable endeavor,” said Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, in a communicated.

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