Coveney makes first official Government contact with Biden administration

Minister and US secretary of state discussed issues including UN Security Council

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney spoke to US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Saturday. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi/EPA

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney spoke to US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Saturday. Photograph: Salvatore Di Nolfi/EPA

 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney spoke to US secretary of state Antony Blinken on Saturday, the first official contact between the Government and the new US administration since the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

According to officials with knowledge of the call, the two men discussed a range of issues, including Ireland’s current role on the United Nations Security Council. The US is one of the five permanent members of the UN’s most significant body, and Irish officials will be working closely with the US and the other members during their term.

Both sides expressed an eagerness for an in-person visit when the Covid situation improves.

Last week, the Government decided that the traditional in-person visit to the White House by the Taoiseach would not go ahead this year due to the Covid pandemic. Instead, discussions are under way with the White House and House speaker Nancy Pelosi about virtual events on March 17th.

Though Micheál Martin was one of several world leaders who spoke to Mr Biden following his election victory, the US president has not spoken to Mr Martin since assuming office.

British prime minister Boris Johnson said at the weekend he expected to host Mr Biden in person at June’s G7 summit in Cornwall. There has been speculation that this could be an opportunity for Mr Biden to visit Ireland, though no discussions have yet taken place.

Mr Johnson is due to host a virtual meeting of G7 leaders, including Mr Biden, this week, while the US president will also address the Munich Security Conference virtually.