Joe Biden in UK: President of America will tell Boris Johnson not to threaten North Ireland peace in Good Friday Agreement as the pair meet up in Cornwall ahead of G7 summit

The president of America will tell Boris Johnson not to let the row over Northern Ireland's Brexit arrangements put the Good Friday Agreement at risk as the two meet up in Cornwall ahead of G7 summit on Thursday.

US President Joe Biden is welcomed as he arrives on Air Force One at Cornwall Airport Newquay ahead of the G7 summit (Photo: Phil Noble/PA Wire ).

President Biden arrived on Air Force One at Cornwall Airport Newquay on Wednesday night ahead of the G7 summit there on Friday.

In the US president's first overseas visit, aides said he will stress the need to "stand behind" the Northern Ireland Protocol, the element of the Brexit deal which has triggered a UK-EU dispute.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Aside from Brexit, Mr Johnson and Mr Biden will focus on efforts to resume transatlantic travel and agree a new Atlantic Charter.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden disembark Air Force One upon arrival at Cornwall Airport Newquay, on June 9, 2021 near Newquay, Cornwall, England. On June 11, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host the Group of Seven leaders at a three-day summit in Cornwall, as the wealthiest nations look to chart a course for recovery from the global pandemic. (Photo by Phil Noble - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Read More

Read More
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden set to agree a new Atlantic Charter

However, Mr Biden's close interest in issues affecting Ireland will mean that the dispute over the protocol will feature heavily in discussions with the UK and European Union over the coming days of intense diplomatic activity in Cornwall.

The Times reported that Mr Biden took the extraordinary step of ordering the United States' most senior diplomat in London, Yael Lempert, to deliver a demarche - a formal protest - in a meeting with Brexit minister Lord Frost on June 3.

The newspaper reported that Government minutes of the meeting said: "Lempert implied that the UK had been inflaming the rhetoric, by asking if he would keep it 'cool'."

The US charge d'affaires indicated that if Mr Johnson accepted demands to follow EU rules on agricultural standards, Mr Biden would ensure that it would not "negatively affect the chances of reaching a US/UK free trade deal".

Talks between Brexit minister Lord Frost and the European Commission's Maros Sefcovic on Wednesday failed to make a breakthrough on the protocol.

The EU has threatened to launch a trade war against Britain if it fails to implement checks on goods entering Northern Ireland under the terms of the Brexit "divorce" settlement which Mr Johnson signed.

Lord Frost refused to rule out the prospect that the UK could unilaterally delay imposing checks on British-made sausages and other chilled meats due to come into force at the end of the month.

The protocol effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the European single market for goods in order to avoid a hard border with Ireland, meaning a trade barrier in the Irish Sea for goods crossing from Great Britain.

Mr Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Air Force One: "President Biden has been crystal clear about his rock-solid belief in the Good Friday Agreement as the foundation for peaceful coexistence in Northern Ireland.

"That agreement must be protected, and any steps that imperil or undermine it will not be welcomed by the United States."

Asked whether Mr Johnson's stance was imperilling the peace deal, Mr Sullivan said: "I'm not going to characterize that at this point. I'm only going to say that President Biden is going to make statements in principle on this front.

"He's not issuing threats or ultimatums; he's going to simply convey his deep-seated belief that we need to stand behind and protect this protocol."

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.