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Biden, Trudeau to meet online to reinvigorate US-Canada ties

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Joe Biden speaks in the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, DC, the US, on February 22, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are scheduled to hold a bilateral virtual meeting to restore friendly ties between their countries.

Biden and Trudeau will lay out a "roadmap" to further US-Canada ties in their first bilateral meeting on Tuesday, a senior US administration official told reporters on the eve of Biden's first bilateral event as president.

The meeting, which will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will cover a range of issues, including diplomatic relations, transportation, infrastructure, and battling the pandemic, the official said on Monday.

The meeting will also address issues such as North America's economy, global warming, development of the Arctic, Myanmar, and Venezuela, among other subjects.

Forging a common strategy against China will also be high on the agenda.

"I think the biggest deliverable from the trip, or from the meeting, is going to be essentially... a roadmap to reinvigorate US-Canada collaboration," the senior administration official told reporters.

One sticking point between the two countries is Biden's decision to cancel the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, a project backed by the Trudeau government that environmentalists strongly oppose.

Biden rescinded the permit by executive order on his first day in office, fulfilling a campaign commitment, and "the decision will not be reconsidered," the official said.

Building the controversial Keystone XL pipeline had been one of former US President Donald Trump's main promises during his campaign.

"By being on the same line on several subjects, like climate change or economic revival, we can do more together," Trudeau's office stated.

The meeting kicks off with a 45-minute closed-door warm-up between Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, along with their Canadian counterparts.

The virtual meeting will then be expanded to include other officials.

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