Belfast Telegraph

US congresswoman Pelosi warns UK not to undermine Good Friday Agreement

A group of high-ranking US politicians is on a two-day fact-finding mission to Ireland.

US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi (right) and Congressman Richard Neal (left) are greeted by Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade at Iveagh House, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)
US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi (right) and Congressman Richard Neal (left) are greeted by Simon Coveney, Ireland’s Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade at Iveagh House, Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi has warned the UK not to undermine the Good Friday Agreement when it leaves the EU.

The senior Democrat said a quick trade agreement between the UK and the US after Brexit was not on the cards if there was any harm done to the accord.

Speaking in Dublin, she said the UK had made the decision to leave the bloc and it should not think “for one minute that there’s any comfort for them in the fact that if they leave the EU that they would quickly have a US-UK trade agreement”.

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Nancy Pelosi (J Scott Applewhite/AP)

“That’s just not on the cards, if there’s any harm done to the Good Friday accords,” she said. “Don’t even think about that.”

She said the Good Friday pact was not just a peace agreement, it was something much more.

“This isn’t, for us, an issue or an agreement. It’s a value,” she said.

Ms Pelosi made the comments at the Department of Foreign Affairs at the start of a two-day visit to Ireland.

She was greeted by the country’s deputy premier and foreign affairs minister Simon Coveney, ahead of a meeting with Irish premier Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings.

Mr Coveney said Ireland respected the UK’s decision to leave the EU and had no desire to make life difficult for the United Kingdom.

But he added that while Britain had the right to determine its own destiny, it did not have the right to determine Ireland’s future.

Ms Pelosi is part of a delegation of high-ranking US politicians on a fact-finding mission to the country.

On Wednesday, she will address TDs, senators and former politicians of the Irish parliament in the Dail chamber.

The group will then meet President Michael D Higgins and Mr Varadkar will host a dinner at Dublin Castle.

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Leo Varadkar presents Nancy Pelosi with a copy of a letter signed by more than 300 congressman written in 1937 to congratulate Ireland on its new constitution (Brian Lawless/PA)

The US delegation includes several members of the Friends of Ireland caucus, including congressman Richie Neal.

The US politicians will also visit Northern Ireland.

On Monday, Ms Pelosi said there would be no chance of a US-UK trade deal if there was any weakening of the Good Friday Agreement.

Speaking at the London School of Economics, she said the accord was a model that could not be bargained away in another agreement.

Ms Pelosi is the third most powerful politician in the US.

Ahead of the visit, Mr Varadkar said: “It’s an honour to welcome the delegation from the US Congress to Ireland.

“This visit is more evidence of the deep and historic ties between our two countries and is a good opportunity to further deepen US-Ireland bilateral relations.

“We will discuss a range of issues including trade, visas, immigration and Brexit.”

PA

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