US former VP and Democratic candidate for this year’s election, Joe Biden has issued a stark warning to Britain saying he will not be party in compromising the peace of Northern Ireland at the cost of Brexit if made President in November’s election. Biden stressed on the need of a solid and transparent UK-US trade pact that should align with the Good Friday Agreement. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been trying to convince US politicians about the latest Brexit developments after visiting Washington. The incumbent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed his faith in United Kingdom to “get this right”.
However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there was “no chance” of a bilateral agreement getting approval from the US congress if the Kingdom breached the Good Friday Agreement. Following a meeting with Raab, the Speaker of the House of Representatives said the Kingdom’s exit from the European Union could not be allowed to shatter peace in Northern Ireland. She said the lower house of Congress which is currently controlled by Democrats would try to safeguard the Good Friday Agreement penned in 1998 which rests as a “beacon of hope for peace-loving people throughout the hole world”.
Trump’s Presidential challenger Biden in his tweet said:
“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 US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”
Brexit has certainly turned into top agenda at the Washington meetings after the Internal Market Bill cleared its first parliamentary hurdle earlier this week. The new legislation will allow the English government to scrape portion of the Brexit withdrawal deal – which PM Boris Johnson agreed with the European Union in October 2019.
The bill is now subjected to further scrutiny in the House of Commons and also needs to get through the House of Lords. If the law is materialized it would surely undermine the international law – a prospect that triggered an angry response from the senior US leadership in last week. On Tuesday four senior congressmen also expressed similar concerns in a similar tone saying a UK-US trade deal could be in jeopardy if UK failed to maintain the Good Friday Agreement.
In a letter directed to PM Johnson, the four congressmen openly penned their reservations saying the plans to give his ministers of his cabinet powers to override part of the agreement – agreed to avoid a hard-Irish border – could result in “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.
The letter had the signatures of Richard Neal, Bill Keating, and Eliot Engel who all are serving as head of committees in the US House of Representatives as Democrats. Republican Congressman Peter King also signed on the letter.
However, when asked bout the law at a joint UK-US press conference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, replied: “We trust the UK, we know the complexities of the situation, I have great confidence they will get this right.”
UK foreign Secretary Raab said “the threat to the Good Friday Agreement comes from the EU’s politicization of the issue.”
Defending the move, he deemed the bill as “precautionary and appropriate” adding “what we can’t have is the EU seeking to erect a border down the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Britain”.
When questioned earlier about the letter received from US congressmen, Boris Johnson said: “I think when they understand what we are trying to do they will share our ambition and concern which is to protect the peace process.