The report states that in recent days, US envoy Yael Lempert issued an “initiative” – a diplomatic reprimand that is usually reserved for hostile states rather than allies – for the British government’s failure to implement part of the Brexit deal negotiated with Brussels last year. which is designed to protect the peace on the island.
“This is wrong. In the first place, this discussion was not led by the president. It was not intensified. As with any ally, we have diplomatic conversations on areas where we are concerned on many levels,” a senior official told CNN. Biden administration.
But Biden is known to be an opponent of any version of Brexit that undermines peace in Ireland and the president plans to press Johnson on the matter during their talks, other senior administration officials said.
“President Biden has been very clear about his firm belief in the Good Friday Agreement as the foundation for peaceful coexistence in Northern Ireland. That agreement must be protected and any steps that endanger or threaten it will not be met with. favor from the United States., “Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to Europe.
He declined to say whether the United States believed Johnson was taking steps to jeopardize the deal.
“I’m just going to say that President Biden will make statements of principle on this front,” Sullivan said. “It is not issuing threats or ultimatums; it will simply convey its ingrained belief that we must stand behind and protect this protocol.”
The UK government has said it will not comment on the matter until after Thursday’s talks. Unusually for a meeting between US and UK leaders, there will be no joint press conference afterwards, just a background briefing for reporters and a lecture. It is not plausible that this is due to the fact that it would be impossible to dodge the Northern Ireland issue, creating a difficult diplomatic moment in front of the cameras, something both men would prefer to avoid.
It does this by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU customs area and single market for goods, which means no physical checks are required for goods crossing the border.
The agreement de facto created a maritime border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, which infuriated unionists in Northern Ireland and Britain. But Johnson has yet to fully implement the protocol, among other things for fear of food shortages in Northern Ireland.
This, the EU rightly points out, is a violation of the Treaty Johnson agreed with Brussels and a violation of international law. In March, the EU initiated legal action against the UK over London’s unilateral attempts to extend the Brexit grace period on food imports into Northern Ireland. Talks between Frost and his EU counterpart on how to resolve the protocol impasse failed to produce a solution Wednesday, and there is no clear sign of a solution anytime soon.
In September, before winning the presidency, Biden warned that the Good Friday deal could not “become a victim of Brexit” and said that any trade deal between the UK and the US, touted by many as the most significant result. exit from the EU, “must be subject to compliance with the agreement and the prevention of the return of a hard border. Period”.
He doubled down on this position as president-elect in November, stating that “the idea of closing the north and south borders again is not right.”
While the prime minister may want to speak instead this week about the future of the UK as a guiding light for the international community, he can’t escape the fact that Brexit has fundamentally changed the UK’s perception among its allies and will continue to have a real impact. both inside and outside the UK for decades to come.
Kevin Liptak contributed to the report.