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We'll 'assure' new US president of our commitment to NI peace: Government minister Buckland

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Justice Secretary Robert Buckland

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland

PA

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland

The UK Government would seek to assure a Joe Biden administration in the White House of its commitment to peace in Northern Ireland and to avoiding a hardening of the border in any deal with the EU.

Joe Biden - who looks set to become the next US president - has stressed that any deal between the UK and EU must respect the Good Friday Agreement.

His Democratic party colleague and Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has said there can be "no chance" of a deal between the UK and US if London broke away from commitments made to the EU.

She said that the American Congress would never pass an economic agreement that it felt could “imperil” the Northern Ireland peace accord.

It has been reported Number 10 would rather a return of the Donald Trump administration as it could be easier to broker a trade deal with the businessman. However, it would be congress that approves any deal.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, on Sky News, when asked about the matter said his government would look to "assure" a Biden presidency the Good Friday Agreement would be at "the heart of what we wish to do, and any trade agreement will, of course, respect that".

He also signaled it was more likely a deal would be reached with the EU.

He asked about the possibility of a no-deal outcome with the EU in trade talks and a Joe Biden administration appearing unwilling to work with the UK in such a scenario.

Mr Buckland rejected the premise of the use of the term "hard border"in a context "that the fundamental agreement we reached in the late 1990s is going to be affected".

"We are putting the investment in and making the necessary changes in order to allow compliance with the single market rules.

"I believe the arrangements we reached last year avoid [a hard border].

"We have moved a long way from the drama of the last year and now in a position about the future relationship with the EU rather than the fundamental principles that not only underlie the agreement we reached [with the EU] but also the Belfast, Good Friday Agreement."

Belfast Telegraph


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