Biden says U.S.-U.K. ties 'strong,' does not mention Johnson

WASHINGTON, July 7 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden looks forward to further close cooperation with the British government, he said on Thursday without mentioning Prime Minister Boris Johnson who resigned in the face of scandal.

"The United Kingdom and the United States are the closest of friends and Allies, and the special relationship between our people remains strong and enduring," Biden said in a statement many hours after Johnson announced his resignation.

"I look forward to continuing our close cooperation with the government of the United Kingdom, as well as our Allies and partners around the world, on a range of important priorities," Biden said.

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That includes "maintaining a strong and united approach to supporting the people of Ukraine," Biden said.

White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre noted Biden and Johnson had met recently during the president's trip to Europe.

"They had a pretty friendly and close interaction," Jean-Pierre told reporters. "We believe our alliance with the United Kingdom will continue to be strong."

The two countries have had historically close ties, including partnering in the U.S.-led Iraq invasion that was roundly criticized. Former U.S. President Donald Trump and Johnson had complementary nationalistic beliefs.

While president, Barack Obama urged British voters to support staying in the European Union ahead of its "Brexit" referendum; Johnson was one of the loudest voices pushing Britain to leave the European Union.

A bilateral trade deal, once floated as a plum reward for Brexit by Johnson and others, was a dead-end under Biden, who worked to strengthen multilateral institutions. read more

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Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Nandita Bose; Writing by Jeff Mason and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Heather Timmons

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