G7 summit: Don’t imperil NI peace, Biden to warn UK and EU

Posted By: June 10, 2021

Joe Biden has “deep” concerns that a UK-EU trade row could endanger peace in Northern Ireland, his national security adviser has told the BBC.


BBCNI. Belfast. Wednesday, June 7, 2021.


The US president will tell fellow leaders at this week’s G7 summit that gains since the Good Friday Agreement must be protected, Jake Sullivan said.


The UK and EU are at loggerheads over checks on goods going between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


If no compromise is reached, there are fears of potential violence in NI.


Mr. Sullivan’s comments also come as the UK is trying to secure a free-trade deal with the US.


He insisted he was not trying to “negotiate in public” or issue a “warning” to Boris Johnson’s government, but merely stating “how the president feels about this issue”.


The UK and EU are in talks over simplifying the Northern Ireland Protocol, which set up a post-Brexit trade border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) in order to prevent goods checks along the Irish land border.


Some checks are taking place on British goods going to Northern Ireland, causing some disruption to food supplies and online deliveries.



Unionists are strongly opposed to these because they do not want Northern Ireland to be treated differently to the rest of the UK.


Sinn Féin, the SDLP, and Alliance have said there are problems with the protocol but have argued that the UK and EU must ensure its “rigorous implementation”.


One loyalist group has written to Mr. Johnson to withdraw support for the Good Friday Agreement – signed in 1998 following heavy involvement by the US – which helped bring an end to the Troubles.


In an interview with BBC North America editor Jon Sopel, Mr. Sullivan said the success or failure of the Northern Ireland Protocol was “critical to ensuring that the spirit, promise and future of the Good Friday Agreement is protected”.


He urged the UK and EU to “work out the specifics” and “find a way to proceed that works for both”, adding: “But whatever way they find to proceed must at its core fundamentally protect the gains of the Good Friday Agreement and not imperil that.”


That was the “message President Biden will send” at the G7 summit, which runs from Friday to Sunday in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Mr. Sullivan said.