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British Prime Minister Sunak meets US President Biden in Northern Ireland

LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will meet Joe Biden in Northern Ireland next week when the US president flies in for events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday peace accord.

Having helped broker the 1998 deal, the United States still has an influential voice in Northern Ireland’s politics and has sought to protect the peace from tensions caused by Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Sunak will welcome Biden on Tuesday night (April 11) when Air Force One lands for a closely watched visit to both sides of the Irish border at a time of heightened political uncertainty in Northern Ireland.

Sunak held a gala dinner on Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary, his office said in a statement giving some details of his journey.

Biden, who often speaks proudly of his Irish roots, will also spend time in the Republic of Ireland, where he will visit Dublin and his two ancestral homes.

The Good Friday Agreement – signed on 10 April 1998 – largely ended three decades of inter-sectarian bloodshed that has rocked Northern Ireland since the late 1960s.

However, the celebrations were overshadowed by a year-long boycott of Northern Ireland’s largest pro-British coalition party of the power-sharing government, central to the peace deal.

The Democratic Unionist Party is angry about post-Brexit trade rules that treat the province differently than the rest of the UK.

In March, Britain’s MI5 intelligence agency raised the threat level in Northern Ireland from domestic terrorism to “severe” – meaning an attack was highly likely – although the move was approved. deemed unrelated to the celebration.

Biden has at times clashed with the British government during Brexit negotiations, but has voiced support for a recently agreed UK-EU deal to resolve some of the tensions caused by the original Brexit deal. cause.

Although that deal has so far failed to restore authorized government in Northern Ireland, Sunak will seek to bolster his support for the province by announcing a summit in year-end to stimulate international investment.

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