The Democratic nominee for November’s US presidential elections, Joe Biden, has issued a warning to the UK about Brexit. He referred specifically to conditions of their deal to exit the European Union involving the Good Friday agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland in 1998.
The 1998 agreement between the United Kingdom, Ireland and political parties in Northern Ireland effectively brought an end to almost forty years of political turmoil, domestic terrorism and other conflicts. It was the agreement that resulted in Northern Ireland’s devolved system of government under the British constitutional monarchy.
However, with the UK set to leave the European Union (Brexit), the potential outcome of a hard-border between the UK dominion, Northern Ireland, and the southern, independent EU nation, the Republic of Ireland has emerged as a threat to peace and cooperation between the two countries. As a result, Biden has said that, under his administration, any trade deals between the US and UK would be contingent upon respect for the Good Friday agreement and the preservation of peace in the region.
We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.
Any trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period. https://t.co/Ecu9jPrcHL
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 16, 2020
The Trump administration, however, has taken a different stance on the issue, with current Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo trusting the UK to “get this right”, according to BBC. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been trying to reassure US lawmakers that “the threat to the Good Friday Agreement comes from the EU’s politicisation of the issue”.
And while the US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi said that there was “no chance” of a US-UK trade deal if the UK undermines the Good Friday agreement, Mr Raab said that the UK will not allow the EU to “imperil” peace in Northern Ireland.
He said that the Internal Market Bill, which would give the UK government the power to override part of the Brexit withdrawal deal is “precautionary and proportionate” and that “what we can’t have is the EU seeking to erect a border down the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Britain”
Democratic congressmen Eliot Engel, Richard Neal, and Bill Keating and Republican congressman, Peter King, penned a letter to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, imploring him not to allow the Internal Market Bill to be passed, citing the “disastrous consequences for the Good Friday Agreement and broader process to maintain peace on the island of Ireland”.
“We therefore urge you to abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the withdrawal agreement and look to ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland,” the letter added.
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