President Joe Biden has warned the Prime Minister that peace in Northern Ireland should not be compromised by tensions over post-Brexit trade rules at a White House meeting.
Speaking to the Oval Office at the start of a face-to-face meeting, Biden stressed the importance of maintaining a careful balance that was achieved with the Good Friday / Belfast agreement.
“I feel very strong,” he said, when asked about the Northern Ireland protocol. “We spent a lot of time and effort in the United States. It was a great partisan effort and I would not like to see (nor many of my fellow Republicans) a change in the Irish agreement. “
Johnson is expected to address UK concerns over the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol – the agreement aimed at avoiding a hard trade border on the island of Ireland – in a series of meetings held Wednesday at Capitol Hill.
He will meet with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The UK has repeatedly delayed the implementation of some of the controls on goods circulating between Britain and Northern Ireland and has warned that the protocol is affecting trade flows.
In response to Biden, Johnson said, “We are completely equal, because no one wants to see anything that disrupts or unbalances the Belfast deal or Good Friday.”
Johnson irritated the Dutch government earlier this week by claiming that Prime Minister Marc Rutte had offered to mediate in the dispute between the EU and the UK over the implementation of the complex rules.
The Prime Minister is expected to set out the UK’s concerns about how the protocol is being implemented, as it finds key figures on Capitol Hill on Wednesday as part of a charming Washington offensive.
Speaking to reporters before retiring for private talks with Biden, Johnson highlighted the close ties between the US and the UK, including the new Aukus defense and security agreement.
He welcomed Biden’s previous announcement that the United States would double climate finance to $ 11.2 billion, ahead of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow in November, which Biden said he was willing to attend. hi.
Biden highlighted the fact that Johnson had traveled to Washington from New York by train, and told an extensive anecdote about his own extensive use of the Amtrak train service as a senator and then vice president, claiming he had amassed 2 million miles.