President Joe Biden began a whirlwind European tour in the UK, vowing that the US was back to help “tackle the toughest challenges.” While visiting, he was expected to voice concerns over peace in Northern Ireland.
US President Joe Biden opened the first overseas trip of his term Wednesday, arriving in Britain with a declaration that the “United States is back.”
Biden, keen to repair relations with European allies that were shaken by his predecessor Donald Trump, is beginning his tour in the UK, where he was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday.
What did Biden say?
Biden, who arrived at the Royal Air Force’s Mildenhall air base in eastern England, addressed the first remarks of his maiden tour abroad to US troops stationed in the UK.
“This is my first overseas trip as president of the United States. I’m heading to the G7, then the NATO ministerial and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know,” Biden said, drawing cheers from the crowd.
“At every point along the way, we’re going to make it clear that the United States is back, and democracies are standing together to tackle the toughest challenges and issues that matter the most to our future,” he said.
“That we’re committed to leading with strength, defending our values, and delivering for our people.”
Most pressing among the challenges facing the US and its allies is the coronavirus pandemic, with Biden promising that the US would also lead on this matter.
“We have to end COVID-19 not just at home — which we’re doing — but everywhere,” Biden said.
According to US media reports, the Biden administration is set to buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for international distribution.
‘Rock-solid belief’ in Belfast Agreement
On Thursday, Biden was expected to underline the US insistence on safeguarding the 1998 Belfast Agreement (also known as the Good Friday Agreement) in his meeting with the UK prime minister.
Biden’s staff said the president had been clear, ahead of their first official meeting, that Brexit-related issues should not be allowed to derail the US-brokered agreement.
“President Biden has been crystal clear about his rock-solid belief in the Good Friday Agreement as the foundation for peaceful co-existence in Northern Ireland,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One.
“Any steps that imperil it or undermine it would not be welcomed by the United States,” said Sullivan, who declined to elaborate on issues surrounding Brexit.