© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden leave Air Force One after landing at RAF Mildenhall ahead of the G7 Summit, near Mildenhall, Britain June 9, 2021. REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque
By Steve Holland and Guy Faulconbridge
CARBIS BAY, Britain (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden issued a dire warning about Brexit in his first meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Preventing a conflict with the European Union infringing on peace fragile peace in Northern Ireland.
On his first overseas trip since taking office in January, Biden meets Johnson on Thursday at the British seaside resort of Carbis Bay ahead of the G7 summit Friday-Sunday, the summit NATO summit on Monday, US-EU summit on Tuesday and a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva the next day.
Biden will try to use the trip to boost his multilateral credibility following the turmoil of Donald Trump’s presidency, which has confused and alienated many US allies in Europe and Asia. .
However, Biden delivers an uncomfortable message for Johnson, one of the leaders of the 2016 Brexit campaign: Stop the heated EU divorce negotiations to sabotage a 1998 peace deal. US-brokered, known as the Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Air Force One: “President Biden has been clear about his unwavering belief that the Good Friday Agreement is fundamental to a peaceful coexistence. peace in Northern Ireland.
“Any step that compromises it or undermines it will not be welcomed by the United States,” said Sullivan.
Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union has strained the peace in Northern Ireland to the point of rupture as the 27-nation bloc wants to protect its market, however a border in the Sea of Ireland has cut off the British province from the rest of the country. rest of the UK. Northern Ireland shares a border with Ireland, an EU member.
Biden will also speak on Thursday about giving more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to poor countries.
The 1998 peace deal largely ended the “Troubles” – three decades of conflict between Irish Catholic nationalist fighters and pro-British Protestant “loyal” paramilitaries that left 3,600 people die.
Biden, who is proud of his Irish heritage, will make a principled statement about the importance of that peace deal, Sullivan said.
“He’s not making threats or ultimatums, he’s simply communicating his deep belief that we need to stand behind and protect this protocol,” said Sullivan.
Although Britain officially leaves the EU in 2020, the two sides are still exchanging threats of a Brexit deal after London unilaterally delayed implementation of Northern Ireland’s terms in the deal.
The EU and the UK have tried to settle the border issue with the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit deal, which keeps the province within the UK’s customs territory and the EU’s single market.
Pro-British members argue that the Brexit deal Johnson signed is contrary to the 1998 peace agreement, and London argues that the protocol is unsustainable in its current form after the daily supply of goods to Northern Ireland interruption.
Johnson, who wrote a 2014 biography of Britain’s wartime leader Winston Churchill, would agree with Biden an “Atlantic Charter,” modeled on the 1941 agreement between Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The two leaders will agree to form a task force to consider the resumption of the UK-US tour as soon as possible.