Rishi Sunak calls for strengthening UK-US relations in lead up to Washington visit

British PM to emphasise close ties with President Biden and discuss Ukraine, Good Friday Agreement and economic ties

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has stressed the need to forge a 'close and candid relationship' with US President Joe Biden. PA
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British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called for a closer relationship with the US, in the lead up to his visit to Washington.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to meet US President Joe Biden at the White House and engage with business leaders and political figures during his trip.

As part of his diplomatic charm offensive, Mr Sunak will watch a baseball match between the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks, an event coinciding with the second UK-US Friendship Day.

The Friendship Day on Wednesday is being organised in co-operation with the British embassy and is aimed at promoting camaraderie and understanding between the two nations.

Mr Sunak reiterated the significance of the US-UK relationship, saying, “The US is our closest ally. We are one another’s partner of first resort when it comes to everything from keeping our people safe to growing our economies.”

The Prime Minister said it was important to promote a strong bond with President Biden and his administration.

“It is so important for a UK Prime Minister to forge a close and candid relationship with the President of the United States – on every global problem, you will see us working side-by-side.”

Mr Sunak's official visit to the White House, scheduled for Thursday, is not his first meeting with Mr Biden.

The two leaders have previously met in San Diego, Belfast, and at the G7 summit in Hiroshima.

Downing Street has highlighted the unique frequency of these encounters, stating, “No British Prime Minister has had this much sustained contact with the President of the US in recent years.”

While there, Mr Sunak will also address a gathering of American chief executives, indicating his determination to strengthen economic ties despite the recent decision to defer plans for a post-Brexit free trade agreement.

The Biden administration has expressed its intent to use the coming meeting as a platform to discuss key issues, including support for Ukraine and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

The event-filled visit will also feature a fly-past by UK and US military units, alongside performances from the Royal Marine Corps of Drums and the Washington Tattoo, adding to the spirit of the second “UK-US Friendship Day.”

Updated: June 03, 2023, 9:30 PM