Joe Biden, British PM Boris Johnson huddle on travel restrictions, vaccines, security


President Biden met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in England on Thursday as he begins a week of meetings with allies on his first trip overseas as president.

Mr. Biden and the prime minister conferred at the seaside resort of Carbis Bay in Cornwall on issues including the easing of pandemic-related travel restrictions, boosting global access to COVID-19 vaccinations, strengthening trade, easing tensions in Northern Ireland, bolstering security and addressing climate change.

They met ahead of the Group of Seven nations summit that begins Friday to be chaired by Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Johnson, who came into office as a close partner of President Trump, commented on the meeting being part of Mr. Biden‘s “first big trip overseas.”

“Everybody’s absolutely thrilled to see you,” Mr. Johnson told the president.

When Mr. Biden complimented their wives by saying both men “married way above our station,” the prime minister commented to reporters, “I’m not going to disagree with the president on that, or indeed on anything else.”

The two leaders also viewed the original Atlantic Charter, which was signed 80 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill and is considered one of the first steps toward creating the United Nations. Mr. Biden and Mr. Johnson are expected to agree on an updated version of the Charter.

Upon his arrival in England on Wednesday night, Mr. Biden emphasized the need for the world’s democracies to stand together. He is preparing for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland next week.

“We are going to make it clear that the United States is back and democracies of the world are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future,” he told U.S. troops at an air base in England.

First lady Jill Biden said Thursday that her husband is “so well prepared” for his meetings with U.S. allies.

He‘s been studying for weeks, working up to today,” Mrs. Biden said. “Of course he knows most of the leaders that’ll be here. Joe loves foreign policy. This is his forte.”

Asked if Mr. Biden is ready for his meeting with Mr. Putin on Wednesday, she replied, “Oh my gosh — he’s over-prepared.”

The first lady wore a black jacket with the word “LOVE” on the back for the meeting with the Johnsons.

“I think that we’re bringing love from America,” she said. “This is a global conference and we are trying to bring unity across the globe and I think it’s needed right now, that people feel a sense of unity from all the countries and feel a sense of hope after this year of the pandemic.”

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Mr. Biden will raise with the prime minister the importance of the Clinton-era Good Friday Agreement on Northern Ireland. Mr. Johnson was a champion of Brexit, but the U.K.’s departure from the European Union has sparked fresh tensions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which remains in the EU.

“President Biden has been crystal clear about his rock-solid belief in the Good Friday Agreement as the foundation for peaceful coexistence in Northern Ireland,” Mr. Sullivan said. “That agreement must be protected and any steps that imperil or undermine it will not be welcomed by the United States.”

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