Rishi Sunak greets Joe Biden as he touches down in Northern Ireland

John Kirby says Northern Ireland deal will boost ‘prosperity’

Joe Biden has touched down in Northern Ireland for a visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The President was greeted by Rishi Sunak as he stepped off Air Force 1, ahead of a whirlwind visit to Belfast. Mr Biden is expected to travel from Northern Ireland to the Republic tomorrow, where he will stay until April 14.

The President has long been putting pressure on the UK to find a solution to the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol issue, previously warning Liz Truss’ Government against “efforts to undo” the protocol.

The UK signed a new agreement with the EU in February, the Windsor Framework, which was seen to be a major breakthrough on the issue.

But it did not do enough to persuade Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to return to the Stormont Assembly.

The party has been staging a boycott of the Assembly since February 2021 in protest of the hated Protocol.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was “delighted” about Mr Biden’s upcoming visit to Northern Ireland.

He said: “When we spoke recently in the White House, President Biden was clear that in celebrating the Good Friday Agreement, we should be looking ahead, not backwards.”

Mr Varadkar claimed the involvement of the United States and of President Biden personally had been “essential to the peace process in Ireland”.

He said: “From its earliest uncertain beginnings to the making of the Good Friday Agreement, in good days and bad, the US has always been at our side.

“So it’s fitting that President Biden will be here to mark this significant milestone with us.”

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