Biden will credit N Ireland’s peace with economic progress 2023

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland, while a fresh political crisis strains that peace.

During his first presidential visit to Northern Ireland, Biden stressed that American investment can boost economic development, especially if Belfast’s fractious lawmakers settle a current political crisis that has rocked the Good Friday peace pact and halted Northern Ireland’s government.

Amanda Sloat, the Democratic president’s senior European aide, said Biden will discuss “Northern Ireland’s immense economic potential” at Ulster University’s new campus in central Belfast.

At Ulster University’s new campus in downtown Belfast, President Joseph Biden is due to discuss Northern Ireland’s huge economic potential.

She said Biden will discuss “how the previous 25 years were focused on peace but the future 25 should be distinguished by progress and economic prosperity.”

The Good Friday deal ended decades of sectarian warfare that killed 3,600 people with U.S. help. Notwithstanding that peace, Northern Ireland has no government.

The Democratic Unionist Party, which constituted half of a power-sharing administration, left a year ago over a post-Brexit trade conflict, suspending Stormont.

Biden started Wednesday with coffee with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. “I’m going to listen,” Biden said when asked what he would tell Northern Ireland’s five main political party leaders later that day.

Sloat said Biden wants the Stormont government back, but he won’t force Northern Ireland’s lawmakers to return.

She said the president’s visit was to commemorate the Good Friday Agreement and reiterate US support for peace and prosperity. “The president’s message… is the United States’ strong support for that, the idea that the people of Northern Ireland deserve a democratically elected power sharing representational governance.”

Brexit contributed to the political situation. Northern Ireland was caught between the U.K. and EU member Ireland after Britain exited the EU, straining the peace deal.

The U.S., which had encouraged London and Brussels to resolve their post-Brexit animosity, praised a February trade pact between Britain and the EU. Nevertheless, the Democratic Unionist Party refuses to return to government, claiming the Windsor Framework is insufficient.

On Tuesday, Biden announced he was going to Belfast to “maintain the peace.”

U.K. authorities think Biden’s Irish American roots would help unionists return to government, but other unionists distrust him. DUP MP Sammy Wilson told Talk TV that Biden “has got a reputation of being pro-republican, anti-unionist, anti-British.”

Sloat added, “The president’s track record demonstrates he’s not anti-British.”

After 24 hours in Northern Ireland, Biden will visit the Republic of Ireland for three days, including an address to the Dublin parliament, a gala banquet, and visits to two family hometowns. On Wednesday, he will travel to County Louth, Ireland’s east coast, to visit a cemetery, see a castle, walk through downtown Dundalk, and attend a community meeting.

Belfast civil servant Neil Given welcomed Biden’s arrival but said his “expectations are not huge” that it will break the political impasse.

“We have prevaricated for well over a year, and since since the Good Friday Agreement there have been numerous stoppages of Stormont institutions,” he added. I don’t know if Mr. Biden’s visit can unite people in 24–48 hours and send a message that we need government again.

“Hopefully he can. I know no more powerful individual can deliver that message.”

Biden’s stay in Belfast was heavily secured, with police on blocked-off streets near the president’s hotel and the Ulster campus.

This month, British intelligence increased Northern Ireland’s terrorism danger rating from “significant” to “severe.” Biden stated that he would travel despite the increased danger of an assault.

Vice president Biden last visited Ireland in 2016.

Ulster University public health student Samuel Olufemia was excited to see Biden on campus.

Nigerian Olufemia called his presence in Belfast a pleasure. “I’m excited because it’s a historic visit.”

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