Biden says US-UK ties 'strong', does not mention Johnson

US President Joe Biden said he looked forward to continuing the close cooperation with the British government. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Joe Biden looks forward to further close cooperation with the British government, he said on Thursday (July 7) without mentioning Prime Minister Boris Johnson who resigned in the face of scandal.

"The United Kingdom and the United States are the closest of friends and Allies, and the special relationship between our people remains strong and enduring," Mr Biden said in a statement many hours after Mr Johnson announced his resignation.

"I look forward to continuing our close cooperation with the government of the United Kingdom, as well as our Allies and partners around the world, on a range of important priorities," Mr Biden said.

That includes "maintaining a strong and united approach to supporting the people of Ukraine," he said.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre noted Mr Biden and Mr Johnson had met recently during the president's trip to Europe.

"They had a pretty friendly and close interaction," Ms Jean-Pierre told reporters. "We believe our alliance with the United Kingdom will continue to be strong."

The two countries have had historically close ties, including partnering in the US-led Iraq invasion that was roundly criticised.

Former US President Donald Trump and Mr Johnson had complementary nationalistic beliefs.

While ex-president Barack Obama urged British voters to support staying in the European Union ahead of its "Brexit" referendum, Mr Johnson was one of the loudest voices pushing Britain to leave the European Union.

A bilateral trade deal, once floated as a plum reward for Brexit by Mr Johnson and others, was a dead-end under Mr Biden, who worked to strengthen multilateral institutions.

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