Foreign Policy

Biden meets Johnson with Brexit tensions within the foreground

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June 10, 2021, 5:06 am

Here’s today’s foreign policy: US President Joe Biden meets the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Pedro Castillo seems likely winner of PeruPresidential election and The saviour Accept Bitcoin as legal tender.

US President Joe Biden meets with the British Prime Minister in south-west England today, the first face-to-face meeting of the two heads of state and government on Biden’s first trip abroad since taking office in January.

The two will meet at St. Michael’s Mount, a 17th-century castle on an island off the coast of Cornwall – the seaside town that will host the G-7 Summit.

The meeting comes as the UK position on the post-Brexit regulation has caused consternation in Washington. It’s about the Northern Ireland Protocol, a trade deal designed to prevent a physical Irish border that would undermine hard-won peace deals. Under the agreement, goods entering Northern Ireland from the UK mainland are subject to EU controls. In March, the UK government unilaterally decided to extend a grace period for these controls to be carried out, angering EU officials and perpetuating a simmering dispute between Northern Irish trade unionists.

The Times reports that Yael Lempert, Biden’s senior diplomat in the UK, has issued a formal demarche or reprimand against Johnson’s administration for “igniting” tensions over Northern Ireland and endangering the US-brokered Good Friday Peace Agreement.

Irish roots. The Times report includes a mention that the Irish government had asked Biden to intervene on the matter, which heightened British concerns about Biden’s impartiality. Making no move to hide his Irish roots, Biden quoted a famous line from a poem by WB Yeats about the 1916 Irish rebellion against British rule when he arrived at a Royal Air Force base on Wednesday.

Not so special”. Johnson is interested in redefining the terms of US-UK relations – literally. In a phone call with Biden earlier in his tenure, Johnson told the president that he doesn’t like the term “special relationship” to describe the bond between the two countries as needy and weak, The Atlantic reported Monday.

Review Thursday. While Johnson would prefer the United States not to join Europe to teach him about Northern Ireland, the relationship is unlikely to derail. The two are expected to go back in time and sign a new “Atlantic Charter” with goals for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, based on that signed by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt at the end of World War II .

Aside from Northern Ireland, Biden and Johnson will discuss issues on which they largely agree: climate change, global security and trade, and upholding democratic values. Re-establishing physical ties will also be on the agenda, with the two announcing a task force to work on resuming travel links between the two countries following pandemic travel bans.

What we are following today

Peru’s choice. The socialist teacher Pedro Castillo seems to have won the hotly contested presidential election in Peru and kept a lead of 0.4 percent over Keiko Fujimori with 99.8 percent of the votes counted. In a speech late Tuesday evening, Castillo pleaded with supporters “not to respond to provocations” after Fujimori alleged electoral fraud for no reason. Castillo said he spoke to business leaders, a group that fully supported Fujimori in the election, after his apparent victory. “We will form a government that respects democracy and the current constitution. We will build a government of financial and economic stability, ”said Castillo.

Famine in Tigray. 350,000 people in the Ethiopian region of Tigray are living in famine, according to an analysis by the United Nations and other aid organizations that has yet to be published. The analysis, which could be released today, found that millions more in Tigray desperately needed assistance to stop a famine. The Ethiopian government challenged the results even before they were published and questioned the methods of data collection.

Raid in Navalny. The political movement of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was classified as an extremist network by a Russian court on Wednesday. According to Russian anti-extremism laws, group members face up to 10 years in prison if they continue their activities, while a donation to the organization could result in an eight-year prison sentence. “The state has decided to fight all independent organizations with total bombing,” said Nawalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation

Vaccination schedules. The United States plans to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the COVAX initiative over the next two years, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday. President Biden is expected to make the announcement official at the G-7 summit, where he will speak with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. The commitment means the United States is on track to purchase 800 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which typically requires at least two doses to take effect.

One bitcoin first. El Salvador will be the first nation to accept the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as legal tender after lawmakers passed a law on Wednesday authorizing the move. The volatile cryptocurrency can now be used for regular purchases and paying taxes, while cryptocurrency exchanges do not have to pay capital gains tax. The move means El Salvador will now accept two currencies that are beyond its sovereign control after the country adopted the US dollar as its official currency in 2001.

White House press corps travel plans fell victim to cicadas – the flying insects that hibernated for 17 years – when journalists attempted to leave Washington on a chartered plane on Tuesday to follow Joe Biden on his European tour. According to a statement from Delta Airlines, a group of cicadas rendered an auxiliary power unit on the chartered Airbus A330 “unusable”, resulting in the dispatch of a replacement aircraft.

The flight finally ended on Wednesday morning with a six and a half hour delay. Delta blamed the “rarest entomological delays” for the incident.

That’s it for today.

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