June 23. 2024. 12:26

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Biden welcomes new protocol deal and urges immediate return to Stormont

The new deal on the Northern Ireland protocol is an essential step to ensuring that the hard-earned peace and progress of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement is preserved and strengthened, US president Joe Biden has said.

In a statement on Monday he said he was confident that the people and businesses of Northern Ireland “will be able to take full advantage of the economic opportunities created by this stability and certainty.”

Mr Biden said the US “stands ready to support the region’s vast potential.”

“Joe Kennedy, our new special envoy to Northern Ireland for economic affairs will drive this effort in close cooperation with Ambassador Jane Hartley in London and Ambassador Claire Cronin in Dublin, as well as with business leaders in Northern Ireland.”

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“Northern Ireland can accomplish the extraordinary when its leaders work together in common cause. And I hope – as we all do – that Northern Ireland’s political institutions are soon back up and running. Those institutions embody the principle of devolved, powersharing, representative government at the core of the Good Friday Agreement. "

“As Northern Ireland prepares to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Agreement in April, let us remember that ending decades of conflict was not easy or inevitable. It required hard work and determination, and an unfailing faith that a better future was possible. "

The president said that today an entire generation of young people had grown up knowing only possibility and growing prosperity—the hard-earned dividend of peace.

“I am deeply proud of the role the United States has played for decades to help achieve, preserve, and strengthen that peace enshrined in the Agreement. And I look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners in Northern Ireland, the Governments of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the European Union, to further that peace and prosperity.”

I appreciate the efforts of the leaders and officials on all sides who worked tirelessly to find a way forward that protects Northern Ireland’s place within the UK’s internal market as well as the EU’s single market, to the benefit of all communities in Northern Ireland.

Leading Irish American congressman Brendan Boyle, who is also co-chair of the congressional EU caucus strongly backed the new Northern Ireland protocol deal.

He also urged that there should be a return to Stormont.

“I enthusiastically commend negotiators from the European Union and the British government for reaching a deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol. In particular, I want to thank British Prime Minister Sunak, EU Commission President von der Leyen, and EU Commission Vice President Sefcovic. It is now incumbent upon all of the parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly to return to government and make the institutions work for all.”

Democratic congressman and ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives Ritchie Neal said the protocol deal was the result of constructive, continued engagement by the EU and the UK in search of joint solutions.

“I appreciate the steadfast commitment and compromise by both sides to find common ground to resolve the trade frictions related to the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, now is the time to protect the hard-earned gains of the Agreement, and to deepen EU-UK cooperation and partnership for generations to come.”