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Joe Biden accuses Boris Johnson of ‘inflaming’ tensions in Ireland ahead of their first meeting in Britain today


JOE Biden has accused Boris Johnson of “inflaming” tensions in Ireland ahead of their first meeting in Britain today.

The President is expected to address post-Brexit peace with the Prime Minister to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected – as Britain and the EU try to resolve the issue of checks in the Irish Sea.

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US President Joe Biden addresses US Air Force personnel at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk
Joe Biden accused Boris Johnson of ‘inflaming’ problems in Ireland, according to reports
Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street

The Prime Minister and President will meet today ahead of the G7 summit[/caption]

But tensions over Britain’s handling of Irish issues have already been voiced by Biden, reports The Times.

Yael Lempert, America’s most senior diplomat in Britain, told Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, that the government was “inflaming” tensions in Ireland and Europe with its opposition to checks at ports.

Lempert said she had been told to take the step of issuing London with a demarche – which is a formal diplomatic reprimand rarely exchanged between allies. 

The memo said that the US “strongly urged” Britain to come to a “negotiated settlement”, even if that meant “unpopular compromises,” according to reports.

TENSE TALK

In a meeting on June 3, the US diplomat warned Frost that the increasingly bitter dispute between Britain and the EU over the protocol was “commanding the attention” of Biden before his first meeting with Johnson today. 

Ahead of the talks, Mr Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned that the president harbours “very deep” concerns on the issue provoked by Brexit.

Mr Sullivan said the president believes the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol is “critical” to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is protected – as Britain and the EU try to resolve the issue of checks in the Irish Sea.

The adviser told the BBC that both sides must continue with negotiations, adding: “But whatever way they find to proceed must, at its core, fundamentally protect the gains of the Good Friday Agreement and not imperil that.

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“And that is the message that President Biden will send when he is in Cornwall.”

The G7 summit at its core will advance Joe Biden’s foreign policy, the national security adviser said – rallying the world’s democracies to tackle the great challenges of our time.

Joe Biden is set to visit three countries over eight days in his first overseas venture as the President.

Having succeeded Donald Trump in January, Mr Biden said the trip – which also takes in a Nato meeting and talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin – was aimed at smoothing relations with allies that had been strained under his predecessor.

He told reporters the aim was “strengthening the alliance, making it clear to Putin and China that Europe and the United States are tight”.

It's a thumbs up from the President as he arrives in the UK
It’s a thumbs up from the President as he arrives in the UK
Joe Biden and First Lady Jill make their way off of the Air Force One
Joe Biden arrived yesterday ahead of the G7 summit

Mr Biden has promised the meeting with the Prime Minister would “affirm the special relationship between our nations”.

Downing Street said Boris is intending to foster a “close relationship” with Washington.

The PM is hoping to strike a trade deal with the US – but the national security adviser’s comments were the latest in a string of warnings about Brexit’s impact on Northern Ireland.

Boris Johnson plans to use the summit of leading economies to urge the members – also including Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy – to “defeat” Covid by helping to vaccinate the world by the end of next year.

The US President told reporters that he would be announcing a vaccine strategy for the world.

Mr Johnson also wants a new treaty on responding to pandemics after the “pretty scratchy period” where countries were competing and “squabbling” over access to PPE.


The summit would focus on “building back greener, building back better” after the pandemic, he said.

After the summit ends, the president and first lady will meet the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Mr Biden will then depart for Brussels and later Geneva in Switzerland.

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