Published:  12:27 AM, 11 June 2021

Biden warns Britain: Don't imperil Northern Irish peace

Biden warns Britain: Don't imperil Northern Irish peace US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden disembark from Air Force One after landing at RAF Mildenhall ahead of the G7 Summit, near Mildenhall, Britain, on Jun 9, 2021. -Reuters
 
US President Joe Biden will bring a grave Brexit warning to his first meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Prevent a row with the European Union from imperilling the delicate peace in Northern Ireland. On his first trip abroad since taking office in January, Biden meets Johnson on Thursday in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay ahead of a Friday-Sunday G7 summit, a NATO summit on Monday, a US-EU summit on Tuesday and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva the following day.

Biden will try to use the trip to burnish his multilateral credentials after the tumult of Donald Trump's presidency, which left many US allies in Europe and Asia bewildered and some alienated. Biden, though, has an uncomfortable message for Johnson, one of the leaders of the 2016 Brexit campaign: Stop heated EU divorce negotiations from undermining a 1998 U.S.-brokered peace deal known as the Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.

"President Biden has been crystal clear about his rock-solid belief in the Good Friday Agreement as the foundation for peaceful co-existence in Northern Ireland," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One.

"Any steps that imperil it or undermine it would not be welcomed by the United States," said Sullivan, who declined to characterize Johnson's actions as imperiling the peace.

Britain's exit from the European Union strained the peace in Northern Ireland to breaking point because the 27-nation bloc wants to protect its markets, yet a border in the Irish Sea cuts off the British province from the rest of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland shares a border with EU member Ireland.

--- Reuters, Carbis Bay



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