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Joe Biden will deliver a Brexit warning to Boris Johnson in their first face-to-face meeting on Thursday ahead of the start of the G7 summit, telling the British prime minister not to imperil peace in Northern Ireland.
On his first trip abroad since taking office in January, the US president will meet Mr Johnson in Carbis Bay a day after talks between UK and EU officials ended without agreement.
“President Biden has been crystal clear about his rock-solid belief in the Good Friday Agreement as the foundation for peaceful co-existence in Northern Ireland,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on board Air Force One.
“Any steps that imperil it or undermine it would not be welcomed by the United States.”
Such was Mr Biden’s concern over Northern Ireland that Yael Lempert, the top US diplomat in the UK, issued London with a demarche – a formal diplomatic reprimand – for “inflaming” tensions, The Times reported.
EU too ‘officious’ in Brexit talks and needs to be more pragmatic, says minister
The UK is working to resolve its dispute with the EU over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, Greg Hands, the international trade minister, has said.
Mr Hands told Sky News: “We absolutely agree on preserving the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement. But to do that does mean a more pragmatic approach from the European Union in terms of how it interprets the Protocol.
“We have submitted some very serious proposals to Brussels about how to improve the situation. Talks are ongoing. They didn’t get a breakthrough yesterday but nor have they broken down.
“We need to find something that works well for everybody. The EU is following a very officious interpretation of a lot of these rules. We are looking for a more pragmatic approach.”
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 08:30
Photos from Biden’s arrival in the UK
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 08:23
Biden and Johnson must confront personal and political differences
Joe Biden once called Boris Johnson a “physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump.
So when the two world leaders sit down for talks on Thursday in Cornwall, there will personal as well as political differences to overcome.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan described Mr Biden’s initial calls with Mr Johnson as “warm” and “constructive” and played down any differences between the two nations’ goals.
“They’ve been very much down to business,” Mr Sullivan said at the White House this week. “And I expect that their meeting together will just cover the waterfront. I mean, really, a wide range of issues where the two of them and the US and United Kingdom do see eye to eye.”
However Mr Biden – who is fiercely proud of his Irish roots – was a strong critic of Brexit and has made clear that he intends to rebuild bridges with the EU, suggesting Berlin, Brussels and Paris, rather than London, will be at the top of his diplomatic agenda.
Another area that may prove contentious is trade. The UK had been hoping to secure a quick trade agreement with the US after its departure from the EU, but the change in administration in Washington has made a swift deal look increasingly uncertain.
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 08:15
EU threatens to suspend parts of Brexit agreement and warns ‘patience wearing thin’
Joe Biden’s visit to the UK – and his warning over the impact of Brexit – is timely.
Yesterday, the EU threatened to “suspend” parts of the Brexit trade agreement unless the UK ends its refusal to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Speaking after talks failed to achieve a breakthrough, Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission vice-president, warned that “patience is wearing very, very thin”.
Brussels is ready to slap tariffs and quotas on UK exports, he said – and even to “suspend cooperation in certain sectors”, pointing to deals on trade and services.
Mr Sefcovic laid bare his frustration after the UK failed to shift ground in the talks. David Frost, the Brexit minister, described the result as “no breakthroughs and no breakdown”.
Here is more on the story:
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 08:04
Brexit and overseas aid threaten to overshadow Johnson-Biden meeting
Boris Johnson will be warned by Joe Biden not to put peace in Northern Ireland at risk, as the UK heads for a Brexit trade war with the EU over sausages.
In their first face-to-face meeting, ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall, the prime minister and the US president will launch a new bid to reopen US/UK air links as they seek to revive the close ties of wartime leaders Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt with an updated Atlantic Charter.
But the White House made clear that Mr Biden will voice his concern over London’s threat of a further breach of the Northern Ireland protocol agreed by Mr Johnson in 2019.
European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic warned on Wednesday that “patience is wearing very, very thin” in Brussels, which is ready to slap tariffs and quotas on exports if the UK presses ahead with an extension of a “grace period” on chilled meat exports to get round EU hygiene rules.
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 07:57
Hello and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage as world leaders gather in Cornwall for the G7 summit.
Tom Batchelor10 June 2021 07:51