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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

US election: UK 'excited' about working with Biden, says Dominic Raab

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The UK is “excited” about working with President-elect Joe Biden following his “definitive” victory in the US election, Dominic Raab has said.

The foreign secretary said the two countries were bound by a “bedrock of mutual interests”, including fighting coronavirus and climate change.

He said the UK would “listen carefully” to US concerns about the impact of Brexit on peace in Northern Ireland.

The former US vice-president was declared the winner on Saturday.

Mr Biden vowed to unify the country after his projected victory in the state of Pennsylvania took him over the 270 Electoral College votes needed to defeat incumbent Donald Trump.

‘Bedrock of interests’

Mr Trump has yet to concede defeat and is taking legal action in a number of states, alleging voting irregularities.

Mr Raab told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that the UK had always had faith in the integrity of the US electoral system to produce a “clear” outcome, which he said it had now done.

“We want to avoid getting sucked into domestic American politics but it is very clear now, in our view, that there is a definitive result,” he said.

“We warmly congratulate the president-elect and vice-president elect… We look forward to working with the new administration and all eyes are on that.”

He said the British embassy in Washington had been in touch with the Biden campaign and he believed the president-elect and Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who have never met before, would speak in “due course”.

He said he hoped, under the new president’s leadership, the two countries would work together closely on the development and rollout of a Covid vaccine and next year’s Cop-26 climate change summit, which being hosted by the UK.

“There is a huge bedrock of interests and values that bind our two countries… it is clear we are excited about the opportunities of working together,” Mr Raab said.

Asked about Mr Trump’s continued claims that he had won the election, the foreign secretary said the UK and other foreign countries must be careful not to be seen to be seeking to interfere in the election or its aftermath.

He added: “I am sure Donald Trump and his team will reflect on where they lie.”

‘New chapter’

Mr Biden, who when vice-president under Barack Obama opposed Brexit, has warned that the 1998 Good Friday Agreement must “not be a casualty” of the UK’s exit from the EU.

Mr Raab said he understood Mr Biden’s strong feelings on the matter but had made clear in his visits to the US this year that it was the EU, rather than the UK, which was “putting pressure” on the agreement.

“Of course we listen very closely to our American friends,” he said.

“We have unconditionally and absolutely committed to not doing anything to imperil the Good Friday Agreement – by having any infrastructure at the border.

“The EU hasn’t replicated that exact commitment and that had been something which has been helpful to explain to our American friends.”

One of Mr Biden’s closest allies has told the BBC that his election was an opportunity “to jump start a new chapter” in transatlantic relations following past disagreements with the Obama administration over Brexit.

Senator Chris Coons, who is tipped to become secretary of state in a Biden administration said he expected there to be some “reconsideration of whatever comments may have been made about the moment of Brexit”.

“President Biden is someone who has long valued our partnership with the UK, the EU, with Nato and other countries which share our core values,” he told Andrew Marr.

“The reality is the UK government shares a number of the biggest priorities that a new Biden-Harris administration will have, namely combating climate change, working together on security and promoting democracy.”

“We have more to do together than we could possibly do apart and I am sure those enduring and tectonic forces will bring us together fairly quickly”.

This post courtesy of bbc-politics

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This post courtesy of bbc-politics