Biden to speak virtually with Justin Trudeau on Tuesday in first meeting with foreign leader

President Joe Biden has announced he will meet virtually with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday, making it his first bilateral meeting with a foreign leader since taking office.

“In this virtual event, the President will highlight the strong and deep partnership between the United States and Canada as neighbors, friends and NATO Allies,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, in a statement on Saturday.

“The meeting will be an opportunity for the two leaders to review joint efforts in areas of mutual interest such as the Covid-19 response, climate change, and the economic ties that bind our countries, as well as the deep people-to-people bonds we share,” she added.

White House officials were also expected to hold separate meetings with other Canadian ministers about policy issues, Ms Psaki said.

Mr Biden has already held a series of phone calls with foreign leaders since taking office on 20 January. The Canadian prime minister was the first he called on Inauguration Day after becoming president.

At the time of the call, the two leaders agreed to officially meet “next month”. But last week Ms Psaki clarified to reporters that Mr Biden had no intentions to meet in-person with foreign leaders for “a couple of months” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would anticipate for all of you that it will be a couple of months before the president invites a foreign leader to meet in-person here at the White House,” she said during a press briefing.

This was one of the latest signals from the Biden administration that it intends to improve relationships with American allies, starting with speaking to a number of foreign leaders and now scheduling a meeting with Mr Trudeau.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Biden administration rejoining the Paris climate accord on Friday, just 107 days after the Trump administration left the agreement. Foreign leaders said they hoped the United States would prove its commitment to assisting the world in climate change after four years of being absent, including through reducing carbon emissions.

Mr Biden also attended the virtual G7 meeting that was held in London where he confirmed that “America is back” after four years of “America First” policies promoted by the former president.

“I know the past few years have strained and tested our transatlantic relationship. The United States is determined to re-engage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trust and leadership,” Mr Biden said.

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