Biden, Johnson sign 'revitalized' Atlantic Charter, reaffirming commitment to global challenges

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President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday signed a “revitalized” Atlantic Charter reaffirming their commitment to work together to counter the efforts of those who seek to undermine democratic alliances and institutions.

The two signed the new charter, modeled after the 1941 agreement, after a bilateral meeting, which senior Biden administration officials said was focused on “shared values” and global challenges, including counterterrorism, Afghanistan, evolving challenges in the Indo-Pacific, Middle East and Russia.

The last Atlantic Charter was signed 80 years ago, officials said, noting that the new charter would “make clear” the U.S.’ and the U.K.’s “common values and aspirations.”

Senior Biden administration officials said the charter is “a profound statement of purpose” and of “democracy” at a moment when “democracies are very much in competition in showing the world who can deliver for people.”

“This is a statement by leaders that believe that the Democratic motto is best for governance in the world,” an official said.

The charter first commits to defending “the principles, values, and institutions of democracy and open societies, which drive our own national strength and our alliances” while ensuring that democracies, starting with the U.S. and U.K., “can deliver on solving the critical challenges of our time.” 

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    President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson look at copies of the Atlantic Charter, during a bilateral meeting ahead of the G-7 summit, Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Carbis Bay, England.The Atlantic Charter is a copy of the original 1941 statement signed by FDR and Winston Churchill. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

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    US President Joe Biden, left, talks with Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during their meeting ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall, Britain, Thursday June 10, 2021. (Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP)(Toby Melville/Pool Photo via AP)

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    President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are greeted and walk with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson, ahead of the G-7 summit, Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Carbis Bay, England. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

“We will champion transparency, uphold the rule of law, and support civil society and independent media,” the charter states. “We will also confront injustice and inequality and defend the inherent dignity and human rights of all individuals.” 

The charter also commits to strengthening “the institutions, laws, and norms that sustain international co-operation to adopt them to meet the new challenges of the 21st century, and guard against those that would undermine them.” 

“We will work through the rules-based international order to tackle global challenges together embrace the promise and manage the peril of emerging technologies; promote economic advancement and the dignity of work; and enable open and fair trade between nations,” the charter states. 

The charter also maintains that the U.S. and U.K. stand “united” behind the principles of “sovereignty, territorial integrity and the peaceful resolve of disputes” while making clear that the nations “oppose interference through disinformation or other malign influence, including in elections” and reaffirmed their commitment to “debt transparency, sustainability and source governance of debt relief.” 

“So too will we defend key principles such as freedom of navigation and overflight and other internationally lawful uses of the seas,” the charter states. 

The charter also goes on to commit to harnessing and protecting “our innovative edge in science and technology to support our shared security and deliver jobs at home; to open new markets; to promote the development and deployment of new standards and technologies to support democratic values; to continue to invest in research into the biggest challenges facing the world; and to foster sustainable global development.” 

The charter addresses national security and international stability against “the full spectrum modern threats, including cyber threats.”

“We have declared our nuclear deterrents to the defense of NATO and as long as there are nuclear weapons, NATO will remain a nuclear alliance,” the charter states, adding that NATO allies and partners “will always be able to count on” the U.S. and the U.K., “even as they continue to strengthen their own national forces.” 

“We pledge to promote the framework of responsible State behavior in cyberspace, arms control, disarmament, and proliferation prevention measures to reduce the risks of international conflict,” the charter states, adding that they are committed to “countering terrorists who threaten our citizens and interests.” 

Climate is also included in the charter, with the two nations committing to building an “inclusive, fair, climate-friendly sustainable, rules-based global economy” and to “fight corruption and illicit finance.” 

“The world has reached a critical point where it must act urgently and ambitiously to tackle the climate crisis, protect biodiversity, and sustain nature,” the charter states. “Our countries will prioritize these issues in all our international action.” 

The charter also addresses the coronavirus pandemic and the “catastrophic impact of health crisis” and the “global good in strengthening our collective defenses against health threats.” 

“We commit to continuing to collaborate to strengthen health systems and advance our health protections, and to assist others to do the same,” the charter states. 

The president and prime minister signed the charter after a bilateral meeting in the United Kingdom on Thursday ahead of the G-7 summit over the weekend. 

Biden’s trip to the U.K., and through Europe, is his first since taking office. He is set to participate in the G-7 summit, the NATO summit and meetings with the E.U. Council, as well as a number of bilateral meetings with global leaders. 

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