Truss’ first major diplomatic meeting canceled by Biden | Liz Truss


Liz Truss’ scheduled meeting with Joe Biden in Downing Street, which was to be her first major diplomatic event as prime minister, was postponed until Wednesday at the UN.

Officials from both countries said a meeting on the sidelines of the UN general assembly would allow for a “fuller” bilateral discussion and was not the result of friction. But, whenever the two leaders meet, they face disagreements over Northern Ireland.

“We have been in constant contact with Downing Street and have both decided it is best to hold a full bilateral meeting in New York on Wednesday,” an administration official said.

Biden and Truss will find much in common as they pursue a hard line on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and contain Chinese expansionism. But the policy on Northern Ireland is a major irritant in US-UK relations.

The protocol is a post-Brexit agreement with the EU whereby there are customs checks on goods transported from the UK mainland to Northern Ireland, allowing the border between north and south to remain open and free friction, a vital element of the 1998 Good Friday peace. agreement.

The Biden administration has previously warned that any unilateral move to roll back the Northern Ireland Protocol would not be ‘favourable’ to a US-UK trade deal, and the president, who is proud of his Irish roots, should make it clear his personal commitment. to defend the Good Friday Agreement and urge Truss to continue negotiations with Brussels.

“People here are watching and [they] care,” said a senior U.S. official. “Truss keeps saying she wants a negotiated deal. So let’s do it.”

Arguing that the protocol is too burdensome for UK businesses, Truss has proposed unilaterally denying parts of the deal and is considering invoking Article 16 which allows a party to the deal to suspend all or part of the deal. protocol if it causes “serious economic, societal or environmental hardship”.

The protocol is also expected to be included in his Sunday talks with Ireland’s Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, as part of a hastily organized diplomatic round as representatives from nearly all of the world’s 195 countries, including 100 presidents, meet. for the Queen’s funeral.

Truss welcomed Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern to Chevening, his official residence in Kent, on Saturday. The meetings were framed by Downing Street in the form of discussions. She will also meet Polish President Andrzej Duda and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at No 10 on Sunday.

Choosing who to meet with allows the new Truss government to send signals about its priorities. His choices emphasize the English-speaking Five Eyes intelligence coalition as the anchor of “global Britain”. Duda is the only leader outside of this group, a nod to NATO’s eastern flank.

It also sends negative signals: a handful of countries have not been invited to the funeral – Russia, Belarus, Venezuela, Syria, Afghanistan and Myanmar. The strength of the snub was underscored by the fact that North Korea received an invitation to the post, but only at the ambassadorial level.

The sting was felt in Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the snub “deeply immoral” and “blasphemous” in memory of the queen.

China has been invited and Beijing is sending Vice President Wang Qishan, despite the fact that Chinese authorities were not allowed to visit the queen’s coffin while it was in state. The Speaker of the House of Commons refused them entry because China had banned several members of parliament for their criticism of the country’s human rights record.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to come to London to convey Riyadh’s condolences. However, he should not attend the funeral. It is unclear whether this is due to Buckingham Palace’s fear of negative publicity or its reluctance to participate in an event in which it would not be accorded top-tier status, albeit with other leaders .

If the crown prince does come – a final decision has yet to be made on Saturday – he hopes it will be a stepping stone away from isolation following the 2018 murder of dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Its human rights record continued to plummet with the recent 45-year prison sentence imposed on a mother of five for tweets deemed critical.

He hopes to build on his family’s long relationship with King Charles, who has visited Saudi Arabia a dozen times as Prince of Wales.

Truly international funeral diplomacy is relatively recent. It relies on air travel to transport world leaders within days and on refrigeration to preserve the deceased until arrival.

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