Great Britain

Boris and Truss to launch USA charm offensive as PM flies to New York for Biden meeting

Liz Truss, Joe Biden and Boris Johnson

Foreign secretary Liz Truss has been told her top job is to repair US/ UK relations (Image: Getty)

The Prime Minister will fly out to New York to make a speech at the United Nations before heading to Washington to hold talks with President Biden in the White House. It comes as sources have claimed that his new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been told her top job is to repair US/UK relations and put them on a firm footing.

The promotion came after Ms Truss “proved her credentials as an effective ambassador for Britain” in her globe-trotting successes in agreeing dozens of free trade deals.

Her predecessor Dominic Raab was described as “too dry” and “not personable enough” in dealing with what has become an awkward relationship since Joe Biden entered the White House.

Meanwhile, the meeting is set to further infuriate French President Emmanuel Macron who last week withdrew his ambassadors from the US and Australia after the two countries joined the UK in signing a new Pacific nuclear submarine defence pact.

French President Emmanuel Macron

The meeting is set to further infuriate French President Emmanuel Macron (Image: Chesnot/Getty)

Speaking ahead of the visit, the Prime Minister laid out his key goals on climate change and security.

He said: “World leaders have a small window of time left to deliver on their climate commitments ahead of COP26. My message to those I meet this week will be clear: future generations will judge us based on what we achieve in the coming months.

“This week, as world leaders arrive in New York for the biggest diplomatic event of the year, I will be pushing them to take concrete action on coal, climate, cars and trees so we can make a success of COP26 and keep our climate goals within reach.

“We need to continue to make a case for a sustainable recovery from coronavirus rooted in green growth. And we have a responsibility to ensure the benefits of that growth extend to all, no matter where they are born.”

Ms Truss will arrive with the PM in the US later today (Sunday September 19) for the trip ‑ the first official visit in her new role.

Liz Truss

Liz Truss is ‘delighted’ to be visiting the US as Foreign Secretary (Image: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Getty)

She said: “I’m delighted that my first international visit as Foreign Secretary is to the United States ‑ the UK’s closest and most important partner. At the UN General Assembly, I look forward to convening global leaders to tackle the major issues of the day and projecting a positive, outward-looking Global Britain that delivers for people across the United Kingdom.”

She will convene the Permanent Five (P5) members of the UN Security Council ‑ the UK, US, France, China and Russia ‑ to encourage international cooperation over vital issues such as Afghanistan and vaccine distribution.

Sources close to the Prime Minister have admitted that relations between Downing Street and the White House have been strained with Mr Biden only appointing an ambassador to the UK this week, more than six months after taking office.

Relations reached a low point in the Afghan crisis which has seen Mr Biden criticised for allowing the collapse of the Afghan military and allowing the Taliban to sweep to Kabul almost unopposed.

The chaotic and humiliating subsequent withdrawal from the country by the western powers was made worse by a lack of communication from the White House with the US President refusing to take a call from Mr Johnson at one point.

Meetings in Washington will be the first chance for the two leaders to discuss the latest situation in Afghanistan following the NATO withdrawal from the country face to face.

The UK and US have been leading international action to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the region.

Boris Johnson meets Mark Rutte

Boris Johnson Dutch meets Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (Image: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Getty)

This work will be bolstered by the UN Security Council Resolution, driven by the UK, US and France, which calls for urgent humanitarian access to Afghanistan. The UK has committed £286 million in aid to Afghanistan this year.

The two will also discuss the announcement last week of the UK, US and Australia to form a new defence pact ‑ AUKUS ‑ to promote stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region. The alliance is seen as “a concrete articulation” of the UK and US’s shared goals and values.

Mr Johnson, who spoke to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte late on Friday night, has already been trying to calm concerns from EU states about them being left out of the security deal which was only made possible for the UK by Brexit.

According to sources, the strained relationship with the Biden White House was one of the main reasons Ms Truss, who had already been engaged with US/ UK trade talks, was seen as the ideal candidate to fix the problem.

One source noted: “Liz [Truss] got the Americans to import our beef again and sorted out the whisky problem, so who better to charm the Biden administration.”

A source close to the new Foreign Secretary said: “She will be banging the drum even harder for Global Britain.”

It is hoped that the trip can help move the trade talks on by building up relations between the two administrations.

Mr Johnson will use his trip to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as a prequel to the COP26 summit he will be hosting in Glasgow in November to find an international deal to tackle climate change.

Already 100 world leaders have accepted the invitation to come to Glasgow and the Prime Minister will this week host a high-level meeting on climate change at the UN on Monday and meet leaders from countries vulnerable to climate change

While in New York he will host a meeting of world leaders to discuss the need to take concrete steps in the coming days and weeks, particularly on supporting developing countries to mitigate the impact of climate change and adapt to its consequences.

The Prime Minister will also make a speech at the UN General Assembly and meet world leaders, including from those countries most vulnerable to climate change.

White House

This will be Boris Johnson’s first visit to the White House since Joe Biden took office (Image: Bloomberg Finance LP/Getty)

In Washington the Prime Minister will meet President Biden ‑ the Prime Minister’s first visit to the White House since the President took office.

He will also meet Vice President Harris and senior members of the US House of Representatives and Senate.

The discussions will be an important opportunity to build on the climate commitments made by leaders, including the Prime Minister and President Biden, at the G7 Summit in Cornwall.

At the meeting in June, the G7 agreed to take action to tackle climate change and drive green growth around the world, including by mobilising $100 billion in climate finance and phasing out the use of coal internationally.

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