• Thursday, July 18, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Starmer says support for Ukraine ‘unwavering’ as Biden calls him

Starmer will meet Biden and other world leaders in Washington next week at a NATO summit.

Biden and Starmer also discussed their shared commitment to the special relationship between the UK and US. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

US president Joe Biden spoke to new prime minister Keir Starmer on Friday, congratulating him on the Labour Party’s landslide general election victory.

In a call shortly after taking office, Starmer told Biden that the UK’s support for Ukraine was “unwavering.” Downing Street’s readout of the call noted, “The leaders reiterated their steadfast commitment to Ukraine, and the prime minister underscored that the UK’s support for Ukraine was unwavering.”

Biden and Starmer reiterated their continued support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. “They affirmed their shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and working with the leaders of Northern Ireland to create and sustain economic growth and opportunities,” the White House said in a statement.

Starmer will meet Biden and other world leaders in Washington next week at a NATO summit.

Biden and Starmer “reaffirmed the special relationship between our nations and the importance of working together in support of freedom and democracy around the world,” the statement said.

They also discussed their shared commitment to the special relationship between the UK and US, and their aligned ambitions for greater economic growth. Starmer expressed his eagerness to work closely across the breadth of the relationship, including the AUKUS partnership and ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The AUKUS alliance, formed by the UK, US, and Australia, aims to counter China’s growing military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I look forward to our shared work in support of freedom and democracy around the world, and to further strengthening the special relationship between our two countries,” Biden said on X.

The UK readout highlighted that the two leaders also “reflected on their shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement,” which has been strained in recent years by Britain’s exit from the European Union. Northern Ireland remains the UK’s only land border with the EU, making the Irish border a sensitive issue.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday thanked Starmer for pledging that London would carry on backing Kyiv, in a phone call hours after Britain’s new prime minister took office.

Britain has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters since Russia invaded in February 2022.

“I am grateful to prime minister Starmer for reaffirming the UK’s principled and unwavering support for Ukraine,” Zelensky said on social media.

(With inputs from AFP)

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