July 11, 2024

PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations ‘stronger than ever’

PM Keir Starmer meets Biden, says UK-US relations 'stronger than ever'

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer meets US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington DC, during his visit to the US to attend the Nato 75th anniversary summit. Picture date: Wednesday July 10, 2024. (PA Wire & Independent)

UK Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has met with the US President Joe Biden, saying the special relationship between the two nations remains stronger than ever.

BBC reports that the new prime minister met President Biden for the first time at Nato’s 75th anniversary summit in Washington just hours before their private talks in the Oval Office.

Starmer said his first face-to-face talks with President Biden were an opportunity to “recommit” to Nato and the “special relationship” between the UK and US.

Addressing reporters in the White House, Starmer told the president: “The special relationship is so important. It’s forged in difficult circumstances, endured for so long, and stronger now than ever.”

President Biden called the US and UK the “best of allies”, saying the UK was “the transatlantic knot” that ties Nato together with its European members.

The meeting comes as Starmer is looking to form a new security pact with EU nations to strengthen co-operation on defence.

The two leaders’ meeting came as Nato agreed further support for Ukraine at the Washington summit.

Starmer also confirmed that the UK’s £3bn a year military aid for Kyiv would continue.

President Biden said “things are moving in the right direction, I’m feeling really optimistic”.

The prime minister congratulated President Biden on hosting the summit, adding it was “a bigger Nato, a stronger Nato and a Nato with the resolve that we need”.

The Labour leader – on his first overseas visit as prime minister – is a season ticket holder at Arsenal Football Club and gave President Biden a personalised team shirt as a present.

It has President Biden’s surname on the back and the number 46 – a reference to him being the 46th US president.

Starmer also gave him a copy of the Atlantic Charter – the 1941 US-UK declaration which paved the way for the formation of the military alliance – featuring amendments from the then Labour leader Clement Attlee.

Foreign Secretary David Lammy, who accompanied Sir Keir on the trip, met his US counterpart Antony Blinken.

The State Department said the pair “re-affirmed the importance of ensuring Ukraine has the economic, security, and humanitarian assistance it needs to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

They “discussed the need to reach a ceasefire in Gaza that secures the release of hostages and lays the groundwork for durable peace”.

New UK Defence Secretary John Healey met his US counterpart Lloyd Austin.