Joe Biden tells Liz Truss he was ‘amazed and overwhelmed’ by Britons’ affection for the Queen after he attended state funeral – as US President tells PM he’s ready to ‘hear what’s on your mind’ in Brexit row over Northern Ireland
Speaking at the beginning of his talks with Prime Minister Liz Truss, Mr Biden described how he was ‘honoured’ to attend Monday’s service at Westminster Abbey.
He also paid tribute to the ‘thousands’ of Britons who camped out overnight to pay their final respects to the Queen.
The US President and PM both flew to New York following Her Majesty’s funeral to attend the UN General Assembly, where they tonight held their first formal talks since Ms Truss replaced Boris Johnson.
Mr Biden hailed the close relationship between Britain and America.
But – as widely expected – the US President also warned he was ready to make an intervention into the UK’s ongoing dispute with the EU over post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland.
He told Ms Truss he was ‘looking forward to hearing what’s on your mind’ as the PM prepares for a fresh battle with Brussels over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
In her own opening remarks, Ms Truss thanked Mr Biden and his wife, Jill, for attending the Queen’s funeral and the ‘support’ offered by the US during ‘two very difficult weeks’.
She hailed the ‘steadfast’ trans-Atlantic alliance but also offered a hint she would be robust in her discussions with the US President over the Protocol.
‘Of course I’m looking forward to discussing the Belfast Good Friday Agreement and how we make sure that’s upheld into the future,’ she told Mr Biden.
US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Liz Truss tonight held their first formal talks since she replaced Boris Johnson
Speaking at the beginning of his talks with Ms Truss, Mr Biden described how he was ‘honoured’ to attend Monday’s service at Westminster Abbey
As widely expected, the US President warned he was ready to make an intervention into the UK’s ongoing dispute with the EU over post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland
The Bidens were among a huge number of world leaders to fly into London for the Queen’s funeral this week.
The President and First Lady also took time to pay their respects to Her Majesty by attending the lying-in-state at Westminster Hall on Sunday.
Mr Biden told Ms Truss tonight: ‘It was an honour for my wife and I to be able to pay our respects at her lying-in-state and attend the state funeral in London.
‘I was amazed and overwhelmed by the affection of the British people and the world, quite frankly.
‘Even the thousands of thousands of people who stayed all night just to pay their respects was enormous.’
Mr Biden told Ms Truss the UK was ‘our closest ally in the world’ as he congratulated her on her appointment as PM.
‘There is no issue that I can think of, of global consequence, where the US and UK are not working in cooperation and I expect we’ll be able to continue to do that,’ he added.
The US President revealed he and Ms Truss would discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the challenge posed by China, the Iran nuclear deal, and global energy security.
On the UK’s Brexit row with the EU, he added: ‘We both are committed to protecting the gains of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland and I’m looking forward to hearing what’s on your mind and how we can continue to cooperate.’
Responding to Mr Biden, Ms Truss described the Queen as ‘the rock on which modern Britain was built’ as she noted the ‘huge outpouring of affection for her’ both in the UK and US.
‘We’re very grateful for all the support you’ve given us over what has been two very difficult weeks in the United Kingdom as we move toward the reign of King Charles III and we enter a new era,’ she added.
‘And as you say Mr President, we are steadfast allies.’
Ms Truss, who was Foreign Secretary before becoming PM, told Mr Biden she had previously enjoyed working ‘very closely’ with US Secretary of State Tony Blinken on the West’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.