Merkel invites Biden to Germany in first phone call

Photo: AP German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then US Vice President Joe Biden, Berlin, 1 February 2013.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited new US President Joe Biden to Germany during their first official phone call after Biden's inauguration, dpa reported. Speaking on Monday, Merkel assured Biden of Germany's cooperation in tackling international challenges, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

Greater international effort was needed in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the two leaders agreed. Merkel welcomed the return of the US to the World Health Organization, and the Paris climate agreement - two of the steps Biden has taken to reverse the positions of his predecessor Donald Trump. Biden and Merkel discussed Afghanistan, Iran, trade and climate, among other issues, Seibert said.

The White House said Biden conveyed to Merkel his desire to strengthen relations between Germany and the United States and to revitalize the transatlantic alliance, including through NATO and with the EU.

Biden talked to British PM Boris Johnson on Saturday and French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday. Asked whether it was a bad sign for Germany that Merkel came behind Johnson and Macron on Biden's list, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas responded: "You could see it like that, but you don't have to see it like that."

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