Leaders in ‘unison’ on Belfast Agreement, says Johnson after Biden talks

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said after holding talks with US President Joe Biden in Cornwall that the US, UK and EU have “complete harmony” on finding solutions to support the Belfast Agreement.

“There is complete consensus on the need to continue, find solutions, and make sure that we adhere to the Belfast Good Friday Agreement,” Johnson said. “And I think what is interesting is that Northern Ireland is a wonderful place and it has amazing potential. It is a great, great part of the United Kingdom.”

Asked if Biden had made his concern about the situation in Northern Ireland clear, Johnson said: “No, he hasn’t.”

“America, the United States, Washington, the United Kingdom, plus the European Union have one thing that we absolutely all want,” Johnson said. This is to support the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, and to ensure that the peace process remains balanced. “This is quite common ground,” Johnson said.

The leaders met ahead of the G7 leaders’ summit in Cornwall amid a row with the European Union over the Northern Ireland Protocol, which requires checking goods crossing the Irish Sea in order to avoid the difficult border in Ireland after Brexit.

There were indications on Thursday that talks between London and Brussels over the protocol were on the verge of collapse, with the European Union warning it would retaliate with trade sanctions if Britain unilaterally violates the agreement again.

Johnson praised Biden as a “big breath of fresh air” on Thursday because he wanted to work with London on a wide range of issues ranging from climate change and Covid to security.

“It’s a massive breath of fresh air,” Johnson said of the conversations with Biden. “It’s new and interesting and we work really hard together. We spent about an hour and 20 or so. It was a long, long, good session. We covered a huge range of topics.”

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney said Biden would “see through the swirls and fog” of London on the Northern Ireland Protocol and would urge the British government to implement the deal it agreed to.

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Coveney was speaking in response to reports that the US government had secretly reprimanded the British for threatening the peace process over protocol.

“I’m not surprised by the strength of the feeling we got from the American president,” Coveney told reporters in Dublin this morning. “I think he has the ability to see through the swirls, the fog and the informative articles in the British media about the protocol, and [he] Simplifies the message: A deal was agreed upon for a good reason. Now it must be implemented.”

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