Liz Truss hopes to hold a private meeting with Joe Biden this weekend when the US president visits Britain for the Queen’s funeral on Monday.
Their first meeting since the Tory leader became PM would take place against a backdrop of disputes over the Northern Ireland Protocol and difficulties working towards a trade deal with the White House.
Downing Street is set to confirm who she will be meeting on Friday, but a number of meetings with visiting world leaders are set to take place at No 10 and the Chevening country residence over the weekend.
However, Ms Truss is not expected to meet Chinese vice-president Wang Qishan, who will reportedly be attending the state funeral instead of leader Xi Jinping on Monday.
No 10 said the meetings were not “formal” bilateral meetings, portraying them as chats to offer condolences over the Queen’s death – but said political “issues” would also likely to come up.
“We will have a significant number of world leaders, heads of state in the country. She will be meeting a small proportion of those over the weekend,” said Ms Truss’s official spokesman.
“These will be opportunities to discuss memories of Her Majesty, but in some instances it will be the first time they’ve met since she became prime minister … I’m sure they will also talk about other issues.”
Several hundred dignitaries from around the world will be in London to pay their respects to the Queen, in what is set to be one of the biggest logistical and diplomatic events in the UK in decades.
A UK meeting with Mr Biden, who will attend the funeral with first lady Jill Biden, would ease the pressure on Ms Truss’s expected visit to New York for a UN summit next week.
Chevening will be used as one base for meetings rather than the PM’s country residence of Chequers, undergoing what has been described as routine maintenance work after Boris Johnson’s exit.
It was unclear whether Emmanuel Macron will be one of those Ms Truss meets, but the French president has confirmed his attendance at the funeral after offering his country’s condolences in a call to the King.
Mr Macron tweeted about the “unbreakable” ties between France and the UK, as he promised to “strengthen” the relationship between the UK and France by “following the path” of the late Queen.
During her campaign to become Tory leader she sparked controversy by saying the “jury’s out” over whether Mr Macron is a “friend or foe”.
There have also been suggestions Ms Truss could speak to Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin around the time of the funeral, amid strained relations over the continuing Brexit row about the protocol.
It comes as Ms Truss’s government has told the EU it will unilaterally continue to suspend border checks on goods moving from Great Britain and Northern Ireland in a move set to heighten tensions.
Senior Tory MPs, meanwhile, are protesting at a senior representative China being invited to the Queen’s funeral. The vice-president is said to have been invited after some confusion over whether its premier Xi Jingping was on the guest list.
“It is incredible that the government would contemplate inviting representatives of the government of China to attend such an important international occasion as the state funeral,” Tim Loughton told The Independent.
Ms Truss will also meet Charles III at Buckingham Palace on Sunday morning before attending a reception for world leaders on Sunday evening, No 10 said. The PM is scheduled to make a reading at the Queen’s funeral on Monday.
About 500 dignitaries from around the world are coming to London for the state funeral. They will join members of the royal family, former prime ministers past and key figures from public life at Westminster Abbey at 11am on Monday.
The leaders of most Commonwealth countries are expected to attend, with New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern saying she will make the nearly 24-hour journey. Her Canadian and Australian counterparts, Justin Trudeau and Anthony Albanese, have also confirmed their attendance.
Germany’s president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella and Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro are among those also attending.