Joe Biden is not backing down in his position over Brexit and will continue for a negotiated deal over the Northern Ireland Protocol, his Secretary of State Antony Blinken has suggested. The continued hard line on the position came as Mr Blinken and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly held wide-ranging talks in Washington DC today.
Mr Blinken told journalists: “President Biden is unequivocal in his support for the Belfast Good Friday Agreement signed 25 years ago.
“He believes there must be a negotiated settlement and he is heartened by the recent progress.”
The UK still has legislation on the table to trigger to ensure that Northern Ireland is not separated from the UK or denied goods such as meat and medicines as a result of the EU taking a hard line on the protocol.
But Mr Biden and Democrats have previously threatened to prevent a UK/US trade deal from taking place if the new law is implemented and Mr Blinken’s statement was meant to restate that position.
Mr Blinken also hailed the controversial decision to send former Congressman Joe Kennedy as a special envoy to Northern Ireland to build relations with “all communities” but also to provide support for the talks.
Mr Cleverly confirmed that he “updated secretary Blinken” on the talks.
Mr Blinken praised the UK for sending Challenger tanks to Ukraine in the fight against Putin’s army.
Mr Cleverly insisted that if Putin “thought the West would suffer Ukraine fatigue” then it was “another massive miscalculation.”
The two also discussed growing security problems with China and their commitment to Taiwan.
Again, Secretary Blinken praised the UK for not allowing China licences to technology which might allow it to undermine security.
The two also came together to supportthe ongoing protests in Iran and condemn the regime’s execution of a British/ Iranian national Alireza Akbari.
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Earlier Monday, No. 10 Downing Street appeared to downplay hopes of an imminent breakthrough, saying gaps remained between London and Brussels.
“They will continue to look at any progress that’s being made,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said when asked about the meeting.
“But as we’ve said on a number of occasions, there are still gaps in our position that need to be resolved in order to address the full range of problems created by the protocol.”