Biden’s first call to foreign leader will be to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed US president will call on Friday

James Crump
Thursday 21 January 2021 14:18

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US President Joe Biden’s first call with a foreign leader will be to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed during her first press briefing on Wednesday afternoon that Mr Trudeau will be the first foreign leader to receive a call from Mr Biden on Friday.

“I expect they will certainly discuss the important relationship with Canada as well as [Biden's] decision on the Keystone pipeline that he announced today,” Ms Psaki said during her briefing.

In one of his first actions as US president on Wednesday, Mr Biden revoked a cross-border presidential permit needed to finish the controversial 1,200-mile Keystone XL pipeline that carried oil from Canada to the US.

The decision was made despite multiple Canadian officials calling for more time to state their case for the project, which has been repeatedly criticised by environmental and indigenous groups.

Mr Trudeau appeared to accept the move on Wednesday evening, writing in a statement: “While we welcome the President's commitment to fight climate change, we are disappointed but acknowledge the President’s decision to fulfill his election campaign promise on Keystone XL.”

The two leaders could also discuss the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, a trade deal that was signed by former President Donald Trump and Mr Trudeau in late 2020.

The Canadian prime minister, who had frosty relations with Mr Trump, was also the first foreign leader called by Mr Biden after his victory in November 2020’s presidential election was confirmed.

When asked by a reporter when Mr Biden might call Russian president Vladimir Putin, Ms Psaki said that the US president will first focus on connecting with “partners and allies.”

Referencing Mr Trump’s combative style with world leaders, Ms Psaki added that President Biden “feels it’s important to rebuild those relationships and address the challenges and threats we’re facing in the world.”

Ms Psaki did not reveal when Mr Biden plans to make his first foreign visit, according to The Hill.

Prime minister Trudeau praised Mr Biden earlier in the week, while several other world leaders including British prime minister Boris Johnson and Indian president Narendra Modi congratulated him on his inauguration on Wednesday.

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