By Jeff Mason
HONOLULU (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will welcome Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for an official visit to Washington on March 10, complete with a rare state dinner and discussions about energy and climate change, the White House said on Monday.
“The visit will be an opportunity for the United States and Canada to deepen their bilateral relationship, which is one of the closest and most extensive in the world,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.
“The visit also is intended to advance cooperation on important bilateral and multilateral issues, such as energy and climate change, security, and the economy.”
The White House had previously signaled the visit would occur next year but had not announced a date. The president and first lady Michelle Obama would host Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire, it said.
Trudeau, a Liberal, has vowed to improve Canada’s relationship with its powerful neighbor after ties were strained over energy and climate issues during the tenure of Conservative former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
President Bill Clinton hosted the last White House state dinner for a Canadian leader in 1997 with Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Alistair Bell)
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Wattie