Washington: Joe Biden spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his first call to a foreign leader as US President, highlighting the strategic importance of their bilateral cooperation to strengthen economic and defence ties, combating the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges posed by climate change.
Biden also spoke with his Mexican counterpart Lopez Obrador on Friday, US media reported.
President Biden and his team are scheduled to make a number of calls to their foreign counterparts in the coming week.
"We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday's challenges but today's and tomorrow's challenges," Biden had said in his inaugural address on Wednesday.
In his first call to a Prime Minister Trudeau as President of the United States, Biden highlighted the strategic importance of the US-Canada relationship and reinvigorating their bilateral cooperation on an ambitious and wide-ranging agenda, including combating the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening economic ties, defence, and global leadership to address the pressing challenge of climate change.
According to the White House, the President acknowledged Trudeau's disappointment regarding the decision to rescind the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline and reaffirmed his commitment to maintain an active bilateral dialogue and to further deepen cooperation with Canada.
Biden has revoked a permit for the USD 9 billion Keystone XL pipeline, which would funnel oil from Alberta across the border to the US.
"The President and the Prime Minister discussed their shared vision to promote a sustainable economic recovery and to work together to achieve a net-zero emissions future, including through advancements in the automotive sector. The two leaders agreed to speak again in a month to continue to build out our bilateral cooperation," the White House said in a readout of the call.
The new Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg shortly after arriving at the Pentagon.
This was his first call made to a foreign leader as the Defence Secretary. This reinforces the importance of the NATO Alliance to the United States, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.
"The two leaders discussed the importance of our shared values, the current security environment, including maintaining a strong NATO deterrence and defence posture, and the ongoing missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. They also briefly reviewed the upcoming NATO Defense Ministerial and agreed to discuss it again in more detail in the coming weeks," Kirby said.
From the White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan placed a number of calls to friends and allies in Asia and Europe, including Afghanistan, South Korea, Japan, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
"With European partners Sullivan underscored the Biden administration's intention to strengthen the transatlantic alliance and affirmed our readiness to work closely with European allies on a range of shared priorities, including issues pertaining to China, Iran, and Russia," said Emily Horne, spokesperson of the National Security Council.
Sullivan held separate introductory calls with Ambassador Emmanuel Bonne, Diplomatic Advisor to the French President; Dr. Jan Hecker, Foreign and Security Policy Advisor to the German Chancellor; Dominic Raab, British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs; and Shigeru Kitamura, Secretary General of Japan's National Security Secretariat.
"In his call with Kitemura, Sullivan underscored the importance we place on the US-Japan alliance and our desire to work together to address key regional and global challenges, including COVID-19, China and the DPRK (North Korea)," Horne said.
Sullivan also spoke by phone today with South Korean National Security Advisor Suh Hoon.
"Sullivan stressed the Biden administration's commitment to further strengthening the US-ROK (South Korea) alliance. They discussed the importance of close coordination on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, as well as on other regional and global challenges including COVID-19 and combating climate change," she said.
(Inputs via PTI)