PLYMOUTH, England—President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to counter the influence of autocratic states during their first in-person meeting Thursday and looked to smooth over disagreements regarding a complex arrangement to manage trade and preserve peace in Northern Ireland after Brexit.
Ahead of the Group of Seven meeting this week, the two leaders backed a wide-ranging document that charts a path forward from a global pandemic that has killed millions, as the virus continues spreading in some parts of the world. In a five-page joint statement, they agreed to measures including deepening trading links, better cooperating to prepare for future pandemics and supporting the World Health Organization’s probe into the origins of Covid-19.
“We affirmed the special relationship—that is not said lightly—the special relationship between our people and renewed our commitment to defending the enduring democratic values that both our nations share,” Mr. Biden said after the meeting. Mr. Johnson said that the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, was like “a breath of fresh air.”
They also agreed on a document—dubbed the “Atlantic Charter,” after the joint statement made by then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 when they set out their approach to a post-World War II world—that lays out broad principles to which the countries will adhere.
The documents were light on detail. The countries have set up a task force aimed at reopening U.K.-U.S. travel, but with no timeline for doing so. The two sides also pledged to continue trade talks, which are currently stalled, but offered few specifics on timing.