Rishi Sunak is “keen” to formally invite US President Joe Biden to Northern Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA).
The prime minister said a visit by the US president was yet to be confirmed, but “it would be delightful to have the opportunity to celebrate the incredible work of the GFA and the balance it maintains”.
Mr Sunak added: “That’s why the Windsor framework is such a positive step. I’m very keen to try to address some of the challenges in the agreement and … do the right thing for the people and businesses there.”
He said the framework he agreed with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in late February “resolves a major issue”.
As for King Charles’ coronation on May 6, the prime minister said “nothing has been decided yet” but “there are many great things to celebrate”.
What is the Good Friday protocol that Mr Sunak wishes to celebrate?
The signing of the GFA aimed to end the then ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland, troubles that began in the late 1960s.
The violence stems from Ireland becoming an independent country while Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom.
Nationalists (who wanted to join the Republic of Ireland) and trade unionists (who were keen to keep NI in the UK) fought for almost 30 years before the agreement was signed on 10 April 1998.
A new government was formed on behalf of both parties to foster cooperation between the two communities.
Brexit The political situation is volatile as Northern Ireland becomes the only UK country to share a border with the EU nation of the Republic of Ireland.
According to both countries, inspections on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would destroy the total building area, so the UK recently agreed to the Windsor Framework to try and overcome the resulting challenges.
What is the Windsor Framework?
it is essentially a A new deal after Brexit for Northern Ireland.
It aims to reduce the number of inspections carried out on cargo entering Northern Ireland ports by designating two lanes for cargo.
Products traveling via Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland in the EU will pass through the red channel, ensuring they pass all required customs checks before crossing the Irish Sea.
However, products that would remain in Northern Ireland (and therefore the UK) would go through a green channel, which Mr Sunak said would see the current “heavy customs bureaucracy scrapped”, such as the need for paperwork.
Outlines further protections for Northern Ireland’s place in the UK, including:
- VAT and GST imposed by the UK Government to NI
- NI garden centers to offer UK produce including trees, plants and seed potatoes
- Medicines approved for use by the UK medicines regulator will be available in every pharmacy and hospital in Northern Ireland
- Pet owners can travel without a veterinary certificate
The Stormont brake is also an important part of the framework, which will give the Northern Ireland Parliament, which makes laws in Northern Ireland, the power to oppose new EU legislation.