Mike Pence to emphasise need for UK to uphold Good Friday agreement during Ireland visit

Mike Pence to emphasise need for UK to uphold Good Friday agreement during Ireland visit

US vice president Mike Pence will insist that Britain must "uphold the Good Friday agreement" regardless of the Brexit crisis when he visits Ireland on September 6 and 7, the White House has confirmed.

Officials for Mr Pence said Donald Trump's deputy will emphasise the need to protect the continuing peace process when he visits this country, saying it remains a core priority for the US.

Amid ongoing concerns over the damage a no-deal Brexit could cause the two-decade-old peace process, Mr Pence's spokesman confirmed on Thursday that the US vice-president will underline his desire to protect the Good Friday agreement.

And, while not taking sides on the ongoing Brexit fallout's impact on Northern Ireland, they said he will say the US continues to have a "commitment to maintaining peace, prosperity and stability in Ireland by upholding the Good Friday agreement".

The core message of Mr Pence's visit was outlined as it was separately confirmed that the US vice-president will travel to Ireland on Friday, Sept 6 and 7, after a formal trip to Britain. While an exact itinerary has yet to be made public, Mr Pence is expected to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste Simon Coveney and President Michael D Higgins, before travelling to Doonbeg, Sligo and the Cliffs of Moher.

In a message on Twitter on Thursday, Mr Pence wrote:

We will visit London on September 5 for high-level meetings on trade, joint economic cooperation, countering Iran’s aggression, and the special relationship between our two countries.

"On September 6 and 7 we will travel to Ireland, a country that is very near to my family’s heart, where we look forward to meeting with President Michael D Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney while celebrating my Irish roots."

Although the US is officially not involved in the Brexit crisis, US president Donald Trump's repeated commentary on the stand-off and his claims that America will cut a trade deal with Britain have led to concern in the EU over Washington DC's influence.

Mr Pence is likely to face repeated questions on the matter in any media engagements while he is in Britain and Ireland. On Wednesday, US Democrat and speaker of the house of congress, Nancy Pelosi, repeated her insistence that despite Brexiteers' belief of US support, the house of congress will block any trade deal if Brexit damages peace in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, British opposition parties were last night continuing attempts to build a cross-party opposition consensus to oust Boris Johnson from power and prevent a no-deal Brexit crisis.


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