US Sec Anthony Blinken & UK Sec James Cleverly Meet - Good Friday Agreement & Protocol Discussed
"I affirm President Biden’s unequivocal support for the Belfast Good Friday Agreement..." Secretary Blinken
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on Tuesday. At a Press Briefing after the meeting, Secretary Blinken said,
“Our conversation also touched on Northern Ireland. I affirm President Biden’s unequivocal support for the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, which over the past 25 years has been integral to preserving peace, stability, and prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland. The United States believes that there must be a negotiated settlement to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol that’s acceptable to all sides. And we’re heartened that in recent days the United Kingdom and the European Union have made substantive progress towards the negotiated solution.
"Last month, we appointed Joe Kennedy as our new Special Envoy to Northern Ireland for Economic Affairs. A career public servant, Joe will draw on his extensive experience to support economic growth in Northern Ireland and to deepen our nation’s people‑to‑people ties with all communities.”
Cleverly said, “We recognize the interest that the President of the United States has on this – on this issue, and his desire, which is shared of course by us, to see the institutions of Northern Ireland back up and running.”
Later in the Press Briefing, Nick Allen of The Telegraph asked of UK Foreign Secretary Blinken,”Did you pledge today that the Northern Ireland Protocol issue will be resolved by the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, and did you discuss whether President Biden will visit the UK in April?”
Cleverly replied, “With regard to the Northern Ireland Protocol and the negotiations with the European Commission, I did update Secretary Blinken on that. Those negotiations – as I have said publicly and Maroš Šefčovič has also said publicly – have been negotiated – have been conducted in good faith, with a genuine desire to get resolution to these important issues.
“And of course we always welcome the – visits from senior members of the United States Government, including of course the President himself.
He continued, “we recognize the President and I think the whole of the U.S. Government’s desire to see this resolution. It mirrors our desire to get these things resolved, and indeed, I believe very strongly mirrors the European Commission’s desire to get these things resolved. And we will continue working hard and in that good spirit of cooperation.
"I’d make the point that I have tried to keep our negotiations discreet, and I think that discretion has actually helped us get some things over the line, so you will understand that my intention is to continue keeping those – the details of those negotiations discreet.”