Biden says he intends to visit Northern Ireland


President Joe Biden said on Monday he intends to visit Northern Ireland to mark the upcoming anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which the United States helped to end decades of sectarian violence a quarter of a century ago.

The President responded to an invitation from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who was visiting California. announce a new agreement cooperate with Australia and the United States in the construction of nuclear submarines.

“I know this is something special and personal for you and we would love to have you here,” Sunak told Biden, extending the invitation to visit Northern Ireland in person.

“I intend to go to Northern Ireland and the Republic,” Biden later said.

A presidential visit to Northern Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the landmark Good Friday agreement has long been planned. subject of speculation. The last US president to visit Belfast was Barack Obama. in 2013.

For Biden, the visit to Ireland will be a symbolic return of the president, who often refers to his Irish roots, sometimes quoting lines from the poetry of William Butler Yeats or Seamus Heaney in his speeches.

It is also a moment to celebrate one of the defining diplomatic achievements of the late 20th century, which was achieved with significant American involvement, which Biden oversaw as a senator. Former US Senator. George Mitchell helped broker an agreement that helped end decades of sectarian violence known as The Troubles.

“Twenty five years? It feels like yesterday,” Biden told Sunak on Monday.

Officials said it is likely that former President Bill Clinton and former First Lady Hillary Clinton will also attend events related to the anniversary next month.

As the anniversary approached, it remained unclear whether Biden would ultimately decide to travel to Northern Ireland, especially as the fragile peace was tested by a post-Brexit island trade rule dispute.

Biden showed great interest in the discussions and persuaded Sunak to come to an agreement in time for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. The UK announced last month that it had reached an agreement with the European Union, ending long-standing differences.

The new rules could greatly improve the relationship between Biden and Sunak. Biden personally approached both Sunak and two of his predecessors, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, to resolve the dispute over trade rules.

US officials have previously said the president’s visit to mark the anniversary will depend in part on the resolution of the trade dispute. Biden also pushed for the restoration of a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland, which collapsed in part over disagreements over trade rules.