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Biden to hold first bilateral meeting as president with Trudeau on Tuesday

AFP — Joe Biden will attend his first, albeit virtual, bilateral meeting as US president on Tuesday, with the honor going to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

It’s not Biden’s first time to prioritize his Canadian counterpart, who also received the new president’s first call to a foreign leader just two days after taking office.

The virtual meeting will allow the two “to review joint efforts” on matters such as COVID-19 and climate change, according to a White House statement issued Saturday.

The White House does not mention the Keystone XL pipeline connecting the Alberta oil sands to coastal refineries in Texas, which became a highly sensitive issue after Biden decided to block its completion.

In this May 19, 2020, file photo, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during his daily news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic outside his residence at Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Ontario. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

The project, which was supported by Ottawa but criticized by environmentalists, was launched in 2008, before being blocked by former president Barack Obama’s administration. Under president Donald Trump, however, it was given the green light.

Biden campaigned in part on rescinding the Trump administration’s permit for the project, part of a larger promise to fight climate change.

Trudeau has expressed disappointment at Biden’s move to scrap the pipeline.

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