LONDON: US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned the United Kingdom that it must honour the Northern Irish peace deal as it extracts itself from the European Union or there would be no US trade deal.
“We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” Biden said in a tweet.
“Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”
Johnson unveiled legislation that would break parts of the Brexit divorce treaty relating to Northern Ireland, blaming the EU for putting a revolver on the table in trade talks and trying to divide up the United Kingdom.
He says the United Kingdom has to have the ability to break parts of the 2020 Brexit treaty he signed to uphold London’s commitments under the 1998 peace deal which ended three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland between pro-British Protestant unionists and Irish Catholic nationalists.
The EU says any breach of the Brexit treaty could sink trade talks, propel the United Kingdom towards a messy exit when it finally leaves informal membership at the end of the year and thus complicate the border between Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.
The EU’s Brexit negotiator told the bloc’s 27 national envoys that he still hoped a trade deal with Britain was possible, stressing that the coming days would be decisive, three diplomatic sources said.
Michel Barnier addressed the gathering on Wednesday and the three sources either participated in the discussion behind closed doors or were briefed on its content.
“Barnier still believes a deal is possible though the next days are key,” said one of the EU diplomatic sources. Johnson told The Sun that the EU was being “abusive” to Britain and risking four decades of partnership.
He said the UK 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.”