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UK-US ‘special relationship’ remains strong under Biden, new ambassador says

The relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. “is deep and it is strong,” the new American ambassador to Britain Jane Hartley said in an interview with Times Radio Thursday.

Speaking publicly in her new role for the first time, Hartley repeatedly stressed the importance of Washington’s relationship with London, making clear that it is valued not only by the president, but by the entire U.S. government. The relationship between the two countries “is by far our closest relationship anywhere in the world,” she said.

She also raised the possibility of a presidential visit in the future, saying that she is “certainly trying to get him to come.”

Her interview came amid growing concerns that President Joe Biden does not value the “special relationship” between the U.K. and U.S., after remarks he made on his visit to Israel, where he compared the treatment of Palestinians to that of Irish Catholics under Britain in the past.

Biden, who has Irish roots, also took a year to nominate a new ambassador to London and instead prioritized appointments for envoys to 30 other countries, including Ireland.

Hartley, who arrived in London a month ago, also praised Britain for its decisiveness in enforcing sanctions on Russia, including pushing for Russian banks to be banned from SWIFT, the international payments system.

When asked about Washington’s position on the Northern Ireland protocol, she urged the U.K. and EU to “sit down to talk privately.” She said that it is important to find solutions, not least because indecision is bad for economic investments.

Previously, Hartley was ambassador to France under Barack Obama.

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