An Englishman in New York

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The Prime Minister Boris Johnson walking back to the British Consulate General residence in New York. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street.

As well as speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been having one on one meetings with various world leaders during his trip to New York.

The PM has so far been seen in meetings with Brazilian President Bolsonaro, President Moon of the Republic of Korea and the UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths.

It is understood the Prime Minister stressed the important role Brazil must play, as a major South American economy and home to the Amazon rainforest, in tackling climate change and preserving biodiversity.

He welcomed Brazil’s commitment to reach net zero by 2050 and to end illegal deforestation by 2030. The Prime Minister encouraged President Bolsonaro to increase his 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution.

The leaders discussed the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister underlined the importance of vaccines as our best tool to fight the virus and save lives around the world, and emphasised the important role the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has played in the UK, Brazil and elsewhere.

The Prime Minister also met President Moon of the Republic of Korea at the UN General Assembly.

The leaders agreed on the strong relationship between the UK and the Republic of Korea, particularly in trade and defence as exemplified by the recent visit of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group to South Korea.

The leaders welcomed the progress in the global fight against coronavirus since they last met in June and on setting up a vaccine swap between the UK and South Korea to enable them to have earlier access to crucial vaccines.

They agreed on the importance of countries taking concrete action to tackle climate change ahead of the COP26 Summit. The Prime Minister welcomed South Korea’s commitment to achieve net zero by 2050. He expressed his hope that President Moon would take further action to end the use of coal and deforestation.

The Prime Minister and President Moon expressed their concern about recent provocative action by North Korea. The Prime Minister restated his commitment to peace on the Korean Peninsula and to securing an end to North Korea’s illegal activities.

The Prime Minister then met UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths.

Mr Griffiths updated the Prime Minister about his recent visit to Afghanistan and they discussed the need to prevent a humanitarian emergency in the country.

The Prime Minister and Mr Griffiths also discussed a number of other areas including Ethiopia and Yemen and agreed that continued international efforts were required to bring stability to these areas.

The Prime Minister thanked Mr Griffiths for the international leadership he has shown very early on in his new role.

Following further meetings on Tuesday, the Prime Minister will travel to Washington to visit the White House for the first time since becoming Prime Minister more than two years ago. He will hold face-to-face talks with Mr Biden in the Oval Office. He will also meet Kamala Harris, the US vice-president, and congressional leaders. 

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