Pelosi vows to thwart US-UK trade deal if Brexit risks Irish peace




  • In World
  • 2019-08-14 20:29:54Z
  • By AFP

Washington (AFP) - The top Democrat in the US Congress warned Wednesday that lawmakers would block a trade pact with Britain if its exit from the EU undermines Northern Ireland's peace accord.

President Donald Trump and senior advisors to Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson have spoken of fast-tracking a trade deal once Brexit is complete. Vice President Mike Pence travels to Britain and Ireland next month to discuss expanding commerce.

But any such agreement would need the green light from Congress, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- Trump's political nemesis on Capitol Hill -- made clear she would not play ball if the Irish peace deal were put at risk.

The island of Ireland is divided into Northern Ireland -- part of the United Kingdom that is thus set to leave the European Union -- and the neighboring Republic of Ireland, a separate EU member state.

Reimposing controls along their shared border if Britain leaves without a deal -- a so-called "hard Brexit" -- would put the 1998 peace accord in jeopardy.

"Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday Agreement, including the seamless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland," Pelosi said in a statement.

"If Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be no chance of a US-UK trade agreement passing the Congress."

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement brought the 30-year Northern Ireland conflict to an end. But how to handle the province has emerged as a core issue for Brexit negotiators.

Critics have warned that Brexit might require reimposing a hard border on the island, a move that would essentially upend the agreement that has kept peace for the past two decades.

Goods and people move freely between countries and the withdrawal agreement negotiated last year between London and Brussels contains a "backstop" plan to maintain this situation, whatever happens with Brexit.

However, British MPs have rejected it three times and Johnson warns the backstop must go or Britain will leave the EU on October 31 without any deal.

Pelosi, a master legislator, strongly signaled that Republicans would join her Democrats in opposing a trade pact if Brexit undermines a peace deal "treasured" by the American people.

The Republican co-chair of the Friends of Ireland group in the US Congress, Pete King, reportedly said jeopardizing the open border was a "needless provocation" over which his party would have no hesitation defying Trump.

- Fast-track negotiations? -

Those in Congress with a strong belief in Northern Ireland and the Good Friday agreement "would certainly be willing to go against the president," King told The Guardian.

After his first phone call with the new British leader late last month, Trump said talks on a "very substantial" post-Brexit trade deal were already underway.

Last week Johnson dispatched top aides including Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to Washington in a bid to fast-track the negotiations.

And on Monday US National Security Advisor John Bolton, a hawkish Trump aide, said Washington wanted to "move very quickly" on the trade pact after Britain exits the EU.

Pence is scheduled to visit Britain on September 4-5.

He travels to Ireland a day later to voice US commitment to "upholding the Good Friday Agreement, expanding bilateral trade and investment, and strengthening the economic relationship between our two countries," according to the White House.

Any US trade deal needs final approval from the US Congress, where dozens of US lawmakers claim Irish ancestry and political power is split: Pelosi's Democrats control the House of Representatives, while the Senate is led by Republicans.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump wields sanctions hammer; experts wonder to what end
Trump wields sanctions hammer; experts wonder to what end

The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing economic sanctions as a primary foreign policy tool to an extent unseen in decades, or perhaps ever. Since taking office in January 2017, President Donald Trump has used an array of new and existing sanctions against Iran, North Korea and others. The

Shell workers in Pennsylvania say they were told to either attend a recent Trump event, or not get paid
Shell workers in Pennsylvania say they were told to either attend a recent Trump event, or not get paid

Workers at a new Shell plant in Pennsylvania were told they had to attend a speech by President Donald Trump in order to get paid.

Donald Trump is touting voter ID laws as an issue in the 2020 election. Here
Donald Trump is touting voter ID laws as an issue in the 2020 election. Here's why.

As Donald Trump ramps up his reelection for 2020 he is resurfacing a controversial gripe held over from 2016: That voter fraud cost him support.

Germany expects No Deal and will not renegotiate, says leaked briefing
Germany expects No Deal and will not renegotiate, says leaked briefing
  • World
  • 2019-08-16 11:17:25Z

Germany expects a No Deal Brexit and is not prepared to renegotiate the withdrawal agreement, according to leaked details of an internal briefing paper for Angela Merkel's government. The leaked paper is the first evidence that Germany may be preparing to let Britain walk away with No Deal rather than back down to Boris Johnson's demand to drop the Irish backstop. The paper was prepared by civil servants for the German finance minister, Olaf Scholz, ahead of face-to-face talks with the chancellor of the exchequer, Sajid Javid, in Berlin on Friday.  In public, Mr Scholz has said Germany will do everything it can to secure a deal with the UK. But according to details leaked to the usually...

Trump vows to revive
Trump vows to revive 'Pocahontas' attack against Warren

Warren has largely rebounded from the controversy of her heritage claims, but Trump vows to pounce anew.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • keys
    (2019-08-16 04:07:44Z)

    I feel really happy to have seen your webpage and look forward to so many more entertaining times reading here. Thanks once more for all the details.

    REPLY

Top News: World

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.