Washington, Jan 23 (efe-epa).- United States President Joe Biden discussed climate cooperation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his first call to a foreign leader since taking office earlier this week, according to statements from their offices on Saturday.
Biden’s telephonic conversation with Trudeau came after the prime minister said he was disappointed by the president’s decision order to halt the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline over environmental concerns.
During the call, Biden “acknowledged Trudeau’s disappointment regarding the decision to rescind the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline,” the White House statement said.
The Keystone XL oil pipeline project from Alberta in Canada to Nebraska in the US had become a symbol of the fight against the climate crisis.
Biden revoked the permit to build it just hours after taking charge as the new US president, baffling Trudeau as fossil fuels are significant to the Canadian economy.
Biden, however, “reaffirmed his commitment to maintain an active bilateral dialogue and to further deepen cooperation with Canada,” the White House statement said.
Both leaders spoke about “reinvigorating our bilateral cooperation on an ambitious and wide-ranging agenda, including combating the Covid-19 pandemic, strengthening economic ties, defense, and global leadership to address the pressing challenge of climate change,” the statement said.
The Canadian prime minister’s office in its statement said “the two leaders agreed to meet next month to advance the important work of renewing the deep and enduring friendship between Canada and the United States.”
Trudeau and Biden “discussed their shared vision for sustainable economic recovery, creating jobs, and growing the middle class” and “agreed to consult closely to avoid measures that may constrain bilateral trade, supply chains, and economic growth.”
They also agreed “to expand cooperation on continental defense and in the Arctic,” the statement added.
“The two leaders discussed the arbitrary detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and agreed to work together,” said the statement about the two Canadian nationals who have been under detention in China for over two years.
One of Biden’s main goals as president is to restore diplomatic relations with historical allies such as Canada or Europe that had been affected during his predecessor, Donald Trump’s presidency.
Trump and Trudeau had maintained a tense relationship that erupted during the G7 summit in Canada in 2018 when the then US president called him “very dishonest and weak” over a trade dispute.
During Trump’s presidency, the US, Canada, and Mexico also renegotiated their free trade agreement, replacing the former North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the current United States, Mexico, and Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The three countries have kept their land borders closed to non-essential travel since March 2020 on account of the pandemic.
After the call with Trudeau, Biden spoke with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. EFE-EPA