Northern Ireland: Unionists march against Brexit arrangements
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The US President and UK Prime Minister will meet for the first time along with five other world leaders at Truro, Cornwall for the G7 summit this week. Mr Biden has been vocal about his support of the Northern Ireland Protocol, and has previously warned Britain not to endanger the Good Friday Agreement through Brexit negotiations with the EU.
Reports claim Mr Biden will use a bilateral meeting with Mr Johnson before the summit to express his concerns about the Protocol.
The US President is expected to tell Mr Johnson Washington sees the Brexit deal’s protocol as integral to maintaining peace between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
In particular, Mr Biden is expected to say the Protocol is essential to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which brought an end to The Troubles and of which the US is a guarantor.
In a stark warning, Mr Biden will also tell the Prime Minister any Brexit trade deal with the US hinges on the success of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
According to The Times, Mr Biden will also tell the EU to stop being “bureaucratic” on the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The US President is believed to want Brussels to be more flexible in its implementation of the Brexit agreement.
The Protocol was agreed by the EU and Mr Johnson in 2019 in an effort to avoid a land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which could inflame tensions between the two countries.
Under the Protocol, Northern Ireland remains in the EU’s single market, with goods and shipments entering the country from Britain subject to customs checks.
Since the UK left the EU on January 1, restrictions on trade have angered unionists.
While both the EU and UK will meet to discuss the Protocol on Wednesday, so far negotiations have not led to any breakthrough.
Lord David Frost, Brexit minister and UK negotiator, accused the EU of “legal purism” in an article in the Financial Times.
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in response: “Lord Frost continues to lay blame for difficulty with Protocol at EU inflexibility. This is simply not the case.”
Sources in London and Washington told The Times Mr Biden’s administration is nervous about the impasse on Northern Ireland.
Brussels diplomats told the outlet they think Mr Johnson may want to “deliberately collapse the protocol” under the pretext of unionist opposition and the threat to the Good Friday agreement.
Mr Biden has said he will meet with Mr Johnson to “to affirm the special relationship between our nations”.
Writing in the Washington Post, the US President said he will use his time during the summit to realise “America’s renewed commitment to our allies and partners”, and “rally the world’s democracies” against the most significant threats of the world, including the pandemic and climate change.
However, Mr Biden reportedly does not trust the Prime Minister due to his ties to former US President Donald Trump, saying in 2019 Mr Johnson is a “physical and emotional clone” of his predecessor.
Mr Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said in 2019 Brexit was a “total mess” and likened it to “the dog that caught the car and the car goes into reverse and runs over the dog”.
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