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Jacinda Ardern congratulates Joe Biden on inauguration — 'A good friend to NZ'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated Joe Biden today, saying she looks forward to "building a close relationship" with the new US President.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (left) and US President Joe Biden. Source: Getty

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in today, marking an end to the Donald Trump era in the White House.

In a statement this morning, Ardern has offered her congratulations - and praised his intentions to return to pledges his predecessor abandoned.

"I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries," she said.

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Joe Biden officially sworn in as new President of the United States

"President Biden is a good friend of New Zealand, and we have fond memories of his 2016 visit to our shores. Under his presidency the strong and close relationship that New Zealand enjoys with the United States will continue to develop and flourish."

She says the countries share interest in issues including climate change, the Covid-19 economic recovery and the Indo-Pacific and Pacific Island regions.

"We have a common investment in the international rules-based order and I welcome President Biden’s intentions for the US to re-join the Paris Agreement and halt its withdrawal from the World Health Organisation," Ardern says.

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The Prime Minister says she looks forward to building a close relationship with the “friend of New Zealand”. Source: Breakfast

"President Biden’s message of unity as he takes office is one that resonates with New Zealanders and, on behalf of New Zealand, I wish him well as he begins his presidency."

Her message was echoed by Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta on Twitter.

"Congratulations President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on your inauguration. Aotearoa values our close relationship," she wrote, wishing them the best.

"Kua ea ngā manako a te iti, me te rahi nō Amerika ka turuturu whakatau a kia tina, Haumi ē Hui ē Tāiki e!"

BORIS JOHNSON OFFERS CONGRATULATIONS

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also offered his congratulations to the new President.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Johnson said he was looking forward to working closely with Biden's new administration.

"As I said when I spoke with him on his election as President, I look forward to working with him and with his new administration, strengthening the partnership between our countries and working on our shared priorities from tackling climate change, building back better from the pandemic and strengthening our transatlantic security," Johnson said. 

It comes as the British government anticipates a feeling of hope for the beginning of a new and close relationship between the two leaders and leaves behind that perceived closeness between Johnson and Donald Trump, who once referred to Johnson as Britain's Trump when he was first elected.

The president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also hailed the day as a "new dawn" in US politics, saying they have a "friend in the White House" after four years where trans-Atlantic relations have come under strain. 

"This is a historical achievement and this also makes this day very special," she said.

"This new dawn in America is the moment we've been waiting for so long. Europe is ready for a new start with our oldest and most trusted partner."

She added: "This will be a very strong starting point for our renewed cooperation and, of course, way more is to come."