Johnson, Biden Sign New Atlantic Charter

London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden have signed a new Atlantic Charter aimed at working together on global challenges during their first-ever in-person meeting.

The meeting took place in the seaside resort of Carbis Bay, Cornwall, on Thursday on the eve of the G7 Leaders’ Summit, Xinhua news agency reported.

This is Biden’s first foreign trip after coming to power in January.

In a statement issued by the Downing Street, the two leaders pledged to deepen cooperation through the new Atlantic Charter that echoed the original one signed by then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and then US President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941.

The new Charter outlined modern-day threats including illicit finance, violent conflict and extremism, climate change, and global health crises like the Covid-19 pandemic.

“They agreed to work to reopen travel and to continue to share information that will help defeat the spread of coronavirus in our countries and internationally,” a Downing Street spokesperson was quoted as saying in the statement.

During the meeting, Biden and Johnson also tried to smooth over their differences on the Northern Ireland issue, but are yet to find a real solution.

“The leaders agreed that both the EU and the UK had a responsibility to work together and to find pragmatic solutions to allow unincumbered trade between Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland,” said the Downing Street statement.

While describing Biden as a “breath of fresh air”, Johnson said that he was “optimistic” the peace process would be kept going and that there is “absolutely common ground” on the issue.

“It’s incredibly important that we should affirm that (relationship) and the talks were great, they went on for a long time, we covered a huge range of subjects, and it’s wonderful to listen to the Biden administration and to Joe Biden,” he said in a statement.

On his part, Biden said the “Atlantic Charter” would address the “key challenges of this century – cyber security, emerging technologies, global health and climate change”.

“We affirmed the special relationship – that is not said lightly – the special relationship between our people and renewed our commitment to defending the enduring democratic values that both our nations share,” he added.

The G7 Summit will be the first time world leaders will assemble in person since the coronavirus pandemic.

They will be joined by Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who will all attend the G7 leaders’ reception on Friday evening, the BBC reported.

Afterwards, Prince Charles will host a reception for the G7 leaders and CEOs from the world’s largest companies to discuss how the private sector can work with governments to tackle the climate emergency, with Prince William also in attendance.

 (IANS)