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President Biden on Thursday received a warm welcome in England from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the leaders moved to change the topic from a reported rift over Northern Ireland policy.
“It gorgeous. I don’t want to go home,” Biden flattered Johnson while taking in the view of the scenic St. Ives Bay.
Biden told the thrice-married Johnson, who recently wed a new 33-year-old bride, “We both married above our station.”
After climbing stairs to an indoor venue, the men shared more compliments.
“Everybody’s absolutely thrilled to see you,” Johnson gushed to Biden.
The meeting is Biden’s first with a foreign leader abroad since taking office and will seek to underscore the “special relationship” between the UK and US.
But the meeting was overshadowed by a report in The Times of London that Biden ordered a top US diplomat to scold Johnson’s Brexit minister ahead of the trip over Northern Ireland policy.
Biden aides anonymously denied that the US president ordered the dressing-down of a top Johnson deputy.
At issue in Northern Ireland is how to resurrect — or not — economic barriers between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
Top US diplomat Yael Lempert, who is the acting deputy ambassador in London, allegedly told Brexit Minister David Frost that Johnson’s conservative government was “inflaming” sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland by trying to avoid the imposition of intra-UK port checks for the region.
During their summit, Biden and Johnson will announce a new Atlantic Charter, updating the 1941 agreement setting out US-UK goals for the world after World War II.
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