‘Unilateral solutions won’t work’ US issues damning warning to UK over hated Brexit deal

Sinn Fein leader says Northern Ireland is left in 'limbo'

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The Government faced a stern warning by a delegation of US politicians who called on Boris Johnson not to unilaterally override elements of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee, who was listed as an Irish American Democrat, called on Liz Truss to engage in negotiations with Brussels to resolve outstanding issues on the Emerald Isle after meeting the Foreign Secretary over the weekend.

Mr Kildee told RTE Morning Ireland: “It’s important, and we stress this, that the (British Government) negotiate and that they not take unilateral action.

“I think that was the very first point that was pressed by our delegation, most particularly Richie Neal.

“The only way we can come to agreement, the only way we protect the incredible progress that’s represented with the Good Friday Agreement, is face-to-face negotiation.

“It is disappointing to see unilateral action being considered, we stressed that that was not the approach that we recommend, but again, difficult to determine their motivation.

“We don’t believe that is the proper path. We think unilateral solutions will not work, face-to-face negotiation to work out some of these technical questions can be achieved and that’s what we currently recommend.”

He added: “The purpose of the meeting was to make sure it was very clear to them what our position is and has been the position of chairman Neal, Nancy Pelosi, and the American government in general supports that we don’t believe that will lead to a positive outcome.

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“It’s interesting that is the history that we celebrate when we think about the incredible benefits of the Good Friday Agreement, a very difficult, long-standing dispute resolved through negotiation.

“That’s a lesson that not only the rest of the world should learn, but we would hope that the parties involved now, the UK Government would recognise that’s the way to resolve these differences.”

The delegation, which is led by Massachusetts congressman Richard Neal, will also visit Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland this week.

They also echoed Nancy Pelosi’s comment that there will be no US-UK trade agreement if any damage is caused to the Good Friday Agreement as a result of unilateral action.

Kildee said: “That’s been articulated by the Speaker and now having had both Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who don’t agree on everything, there are many things we disagree on but we agree on that point and we’ve made it very clear to each and every person that we’ve met with on this delegation trip.”

They look set to meet with Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin in Dublin on Monday and will also meet with Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald.

However, the Democratic Unionist Party is set to stress the difficulties the Northern Ireland Protocol has posed to Ulster during the upcoming meeting with the US delegation.

DUP Economy Minister Gordon Lyons told the BBC Good Morning Ulster programme: “Rather than protecting the Good Friday Agreement and successor agreements, the protocol actually damages them.

“It is causing economic difficulty, it is causing societal problems and it is very clearly causing divergence of trade, and of course it is causing political instabilities.

“So we need to get that message across that the protocol is not protecting the Good Friday Agreement and that is why we need this issue dealt with quickly.”

Lyons added: “I know that is not going to be an easy task. I previously met with Congressman Neal in Washington and reminded him and Nancy Pelosi of the problems with the protocol.

“I think it’s fair to say that they weren’t interested.

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“We are going to have a particular challenge with Congressman Neal.”

Mr Lyons also claimed: “He very clearly takes a different view than unionists would on many things.

“He has worked closely together with Friends Of Sinn Fein in America, attending their events.

“He has planted trees in memory of hunger strikers and spoken glowingly about them. He commended President (Michael D) Higgins for not attending a service to commemorate the centenary of Northern Ireland.

“He has said he is hopeful there will be a united Ireland in his lifetime.

“So, yet again we are dealing with more American politicians who are very much one-sided.

“That adds to the challenge, but we are up for that, and letting them know about the issues that the protocol is causing.”

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