By Andrew MacAskill
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will hold talks with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington next week where they will discuss improving economic ties and How to maintain military relations to support Ukraine’s conflict with Russia.
Sunak will meet with Biden, members of Congress and U.S. business leaders in Washington next Wednesday and Thursday, his spokesman said on Tuesday.
“This visit will be an opportunity to discuss the enhanced level of cooperation and coordination between the UK and the US in recent months between the Prime Minister and President Biden on the economic challenges that will define our future ,” the spokesman said.
“There will also be an opportunity to discuss issues including maintaining our support for Ukraine. Their relationship with the US is strained after the UK leaves the EU at the end of 2020.”
In April, a White House official was forced to deny that Biden spent more than half a day in the British province of Northern Ireland before heading south to the Republic of Ireland for an “anti-British” two-and-a-half-day meeting.
The Biden administration has shown little interest in negotiating a free trade agreement with the UK, which Brexit supporters have touted as the main benefit of leaving the EU.
In the US Negotiations progressed and then stalled under former President Donald Trump before Biden took office.
A spokesman for Sunak said on Tuesday that the visit was unlikely to discuss a free trade agreement , instead focusing on reducing trade barriers in other ways, such as agreements with individual countries.
The UK-US relationship is built in part on close defense, intelligence, economic and cultural ties, and both countries are largely in lockstep in supporting Ukraine.
Sunak accepted Biden’s invitation to Visited the White House in January, when the two leaders met in San Diego to launch the next phase of the US, UK and Australian submarine alliance, AUKUS.
The two appeared to get along well during that visit Well, Biden pointed out that Sunak graduated from Stanford and asked to visit the home he still owns in Santa Monica.