Biden Welcomes Canada's Trudeau (Virtually) To White House For 1st Meeting

Tanya Simon
February 26, 2021

He said that "our" partnerships have endured and grown through the years because they are rooted in "the richness of our shared democratic values".

He said U.S. allies must stand firm against the challenges posed by China, Iran and Russian Federation.

That meeting will be followed by an extended session that is expected to include Harris as well as several of Biden's Cabinet-level advisers and Trudeau's ministers.

A White House document shows that the discussion will range in topics, showing a "road map" of areas with mutual interests, including climate change, COVID, and social justice.

Speaking first to a virtual meeting of the leaders of the Group of Seven nations, Biden will commit to addressing three "immediate" global crises, according to the official: the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic crisis and climate change.

Despite the variety of issues to discuss, senior USA officials say they are "very excited" about the meeting, adding that they're optimistic that it will begin to "reinvigorate" ties between the two countries following a tense relationship during the prior US administration.

It was unclear whether Trudeau would again raise with the Democratic president the idea of allowing Canada, which is struggling to vaccinate its population, to buy vaccines from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's manufacturing facility in MI. Canada is now receiving doses from plants in Europe.

Collective sighs of relief could be heard from many European capitals Saturday after U.S. President Joe Biden made clear in his first major foreign policy address since taking office that he rejected the "America First" and transactional approach of his predecessor and urged co-operation among Western allies.

Biden, who announced last week that the US will have enough vaccine by the end of July to inoculate 300 million people, remains focused for now on making sure every American is vaccinated, administration officials say. It is created to encourage the federal government to spend more of the roughly $600 billion earmarked for procurement to boost US factories and hiring.

Biden and Trudeau hold first bilateral meeting virtually
Biden and Trudeau "agreed that the pandemic will not end until everyone, everywhere has access to a vaccine", it said. Trudeau's broadside of Trump was a notable coda to a relationship marked by some notably undiplomatic moments.

The border between the US and Canada initially closed to nonessential travel due to the pandemic in March.

Biden was also expected to address economic and national security challenges posed by Russian Federation and China, as well as the two-decade war in Afghanistan, where he faces a May 1 deadline to remove the remaining 2,500 US troops under a Trump administration negotiated peace agreement with the Taliban.

It lacked much of the pageantry of an official bilateral meeting of leaders at the White House, but both Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau expressed optimism that US-Canadian relations were poised to take a turn for the better after Donald Trump's tumultuous four years in the White House.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Biden will advance shared priorities, and work together to end the global COVID-19 pandemic.

They were detained in an apparent act of retaliation after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018 on USA charges of violating sanctions on Iran. She denies the allegations.

The Munich address comes a day after his State Department said the United States would be willing to attend a meeting with European partners and Iran to "discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran's nuclear program" - the first signs of movement toward talks about rejoining the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump had quit.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the US and European nations to allocate up to 5% of current vaccine supplies to developing countries - the kind of vaccine diplomacy that China and Russian Federation have begun deploying.

Trudeau, who supported the project, expressed his disappointment with Biden's decision when the two spoke by phone last month.

After four years in which Trump recognized only American interest as a foreign policy goal, and during which he regularly insulted his allies and praised dictators, the relief of the European political elite was nearly palpable, even through video connections.

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