US presidential candidate Joe Biden has addressed the UK with clear words and linked talks on a US-UK trade deal with the peace deal for Northern Ireland. “We cannot allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to fall victim to Brexit,” Biden wrote on Twitter. A trade agreement between the US and the UK must respect the 1998 peace agreement and prevent the return of a hard border with Ireland. “Period,” wrote Biden.
The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 ended the bloody Northern Ireland conflict after decades. It provides for an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Under his tweet, the Democrat shared a non-partisan letter from four US Congressmen to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The MPs warn Great Britain that Congress will not approve a trade agreement if it does not meet “British commitments with regard to Northern Ireland”. Biden will run against incumbent Donald Trump in the November presidential election.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab met with US leaders in Washington on Wednesday to discuss a post-Brexit free trade agreement. After a conversation with his US colleague Mike Pompeo, Raab emphasized the importance of a “clean, resilient economic recovery” from the corona pandemic. Both sides are willing to sign an agreement: “I think there is a huge opportunity for a win-win deal and we are convinced that we can achieve this,” said Raab.
The Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, also warned, according to the BBC, after a meeting with Raab that Britain’s exit from the EU should not endanger peace in Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement is “a beacon of hope for peace-loving people all over the world”.
London tried on Thursday to allay US Democrats’ concerns. Under no circumstances will the British government jeopardize the Good Friday Agreement, said Health Secretary Edward Argar the radio station LBC.
In the midst of the Brexit talks with the European Union, a legislative proposal by the government in London had heightened concerns about peace on the Irish island. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to use the law to partially nullify the already valid Brexit deal, which he himself signed a year ago. Specifically, it is about special rules for the British Northern Ireland, which should prevent a hard border with the EU state Ireland and new hostilities there.
Johnson complains that the deal with the EU could decouple Northern Ireland from the rest of the country and expose it to the arbitrariness of the European Union. For the EU, Johnson’s move is a breach of the law – even the government in London has admitted that its plan violates international law. Brussels therefore asked London to give in by the end of September.