Posted on Sep 17, 2020
In an apparent attempt to woo Irish-American voters U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has warned the UK that it must honour the Northern Irish peace deal as it extracts itself from the European Union or there would be no separate U.S. trade deal.
“We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” he tweeted.
“Any trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”
Johnson however insists he is defending not threatening the Good Friday pact, but is proposing new legislation that would break parts of the Brexit divorce treaty relating to British-ruled Northern Ireland that seek to avoid a physical customs border.
He accuses the EU of trying to divide up the UK and putting a revolver on the table in talks to set rules for an estimated $1 trillion in annual trade.
He says the UK has to have the ability to break parts of the 2020 Brexit treaty if it is to uphold London’s commitments under the 1998 pact which ended three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland between pro-British Protestant unionists and Irish Catholic nationalists.
We don’t need lectures on the Northern Ireland peace deal from Mr Biden. If I were him I would worry more about the need for a peace deal in the US to stop the killing and rioting before lecturing other sovereign nations.
The EU says any breach of the Brexit treaty could sink trade talks, propel the United Kingdom towards a messy exit when it fully departs at the end of the year, and thus complicate the border between Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.
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The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told the bloc’s 27 national envoys on Wednesday that he was still optimistic, three diplomatic sources told Reuters.
“Barnier still believes a deal is possible though the next days are key,” said one of the EU sources.
Johnson told Britain's Sun newspaper that the EU must not be allowed to abuse Britain and risk four decades of partnership.
He said the United Kingdom must “ring-fence” the Brexit deal “to put in watertight bulkheads that will stop friends and partners making abusive or extreme interpretations of the provisions.”
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