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Afghanistan and climate on the agenda as Johnson meets Biden at White House

·3-min read

Boris Johnson is expected to push Joe Biden on the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the potential of reopening UK-US travel and climate change during a visit to the White House.

The Prime Minister will head to Washington during an environment-focused trip to the US, where he will urge world leaders to take greater action on their commitments to tackle the climate crisis.

With some 100 world leaders expected in New York at the United Nations General Assembly this week, Mr Johnson will seek to galvanise action during a series of high-level meetings.

 

Mr Johnson sees the annual UN meeting as a ripe opportunity to impress on major polluters the need to meet their commitments as he prepares to host the Cop26 summit in Glasgow in November.

He will also make what will be his first visit to the White House since Mr Biden succeeded Donald Trump as US president.

Joe Biden
The Afghanistan crisis has put the US-UK relationship under strain (PA)

Many had hoped the Democrat’s arrival would restore the “special relationship” between the UK and US to full health, but the crisis in Afghanistan has put it under strain.

Mr Biden rejected calls from the Prime Minister and other allies to delay his withdrawal of troops to buy more time to evacuate former Afghan staff, their families and other vulnerable citizens.

With refusal meaning possibly thousands were left behind, Mr Johnson is expected to discuss further efforts to stem a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister is also likely to push for a restoration of UK-US travel, with Mr Biden’s administration having imposed a ban due to soaring rates of the Delta variant of coronavirus.

Fallout from the new Aukus military pact between the UK, US and Australia is also expected to be under discussion.

Not only has it angered China, but France has recalled ambassadors to the US and Australia because the agreement to provide nuclear submarines to Canberra meant the cancellation of a £30 billion deal for the French.

Kamala Harris
Boris Johnson will also meet vice-president Kamala Harris during his visit to the US (Susan Walsh/AP)

Mr Johnson will also meet vice-president Kamala Harris and other senior figures in American politics, as he eyes a post-Brexit trade deal with the US.

Ahead of the visit, Mr Johnson said he would be pushing world leaders in New York to take “concrete action on coal, climate, cars and trees”.

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.

“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.”

He will focus on supporting developing nations to mitigate the impact of the climate crisis, as well as on adapting to its consequences.

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