Biden-Johnson talks undermined by ‘deep concerns’ over Northern Ireland

Joe Biden to meet Boris Johnson in person for the first time on Thursday, with hopes of a new US-UK “Atlantic Charter” undermined by Washington’s “deep” concerns about the post-Brexit situation in Northern Ireland.

Biden’s anxiety was conveyed directly to London earlier this month by America’s top diplomat in Britain, who warned the UK to stop stoking tensions in Northern Ireland over the new Brexit trade rules.

Yael Lempert has reportedly launched a move, a formal diplomatic reprimand, urging Britain to make “unpopular compromises” if necessary to ease tensions over the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol.

Downing Street has made no comment, but the incident confirms that the row with NI is poisoning preparations for the G7 summit, which begins in Cornwall on Friday, and is hurting relations with Britain’s major economic partners and allies.

The EU threatens trade sanctions if Johnson unilaterally breaks his promises on Northern Ireland, and the host of the G7 summit will face difficult meetings with the leaders of France, Germany, Germany in the coming days. Italian and the EU itself.

According to a note from the British government seen by the Times, Lempert told Brexit Minister Lord David Frost on June 3 that the UK was “igniting” tensions in Ireland and Europe with its rhetoric over certain controls at NI ports.

The memo said the United States “strongly urged” Britain to reach a “negotiated settlement”, even if it involved “unpopular compromises.” The British note for the meeting said Lempert urged Britain to keep things “cool”, suggesting Britain had “ignited the rhetoric”.

He added: “Lempert said the United States was increasingly concerned about the deadlock in the implementation of the protocol. This undermined the confidence of our two main allies.

The revelation from the meeting confirmed Biden’s anxiety over the UK-EU standoff over the border issue in Northern Ireland. Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, said the president was “deeply” concerned about the future of the peace process in the region.

A senior administration official told the Financial Times that the United States had raised concerns over Northern Ireland to the United Kingdom in a private message ahead of their summit. But the official said the discussion was not chaired by the president and “had not been stepped up.”

Frost and Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission, failed wednesday to resolve the dispute over the operation of the Protocol, which in effect introduces a trade border into the Irish Sea. “There weren’t any breakthroughs, there weren’t any breakdowns either,” Frost said.

Johnson says the EU’s demands for control over goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland are too onerous and disrupt trade, stoking tensions within the pro-British Unionist community.

The question is a major distraction for Johnson ahead of his talks with Biden, in which the two leaders will sign a new “Atlantic Charter” – an attempt to evoke cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom in time. of war and the 1941 charter signed by Churchill and Roosevelt which outlined a new world order.

The new document, to be signed in Cornwall with the British aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales in the background, will commit both sides to defend democracy and free trade – with the subtext of a united front against the authoritarian regimes of Beijing and Moscow.

After arriving in Britain on Wednesday evening, Biden told U.S. military personnel he sees next week’s G7 summit and NATO summit as critical moments for America to reaffirm its world leadership after the Trump years.

Biden, who will also meet with Vladimir Putin next week, said after arriving at RAF Mildenhall Air Base: “Every step of the way, we will make it clear that the United States is back and the democracies of the world. are standing. together to tackle the toughest challenges and the issues that matter most to our future. “

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