From Jethro_uk@21:1/5 to All on Sun Mar 14 11:31:05 2021
As a Brit, US issues that affect the UK are of interest.
I read recently that there is to be a bipartisan statement next week underscoring the US governments total commitment to the Good Friday
Agreement (also known as the Belfast agreement).
The resolution is being proposed by Democrat senator Bob Menendez, the
chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, one of the most senior positions in Congress, and Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine
who has been a long-standing supporter of Ireland in the Senate.
In the light of this, and assuming the UK pushes ahead with it's defiance
of the provisions of it's own protocol, let alone the GFA, what might the
US do beyond a stern word ? Is there any precedent with any other treaty busting country the US has stood guarantor to ?
(As an aside I noted a few comments on social media from Americans who
noted that it's not a great idea to be the wrong side of a bipartisan
US congressman Richard Neal has warned that a future US-UK trade deal is
in the balance as he condemned Britain’s decision to postpone the implementation of a key part of the Brexit agreement.
Speaking to The Irish Times in his first public comments since London’s decision to extend the grace period for custom checks between Northern
Ireland and Britain, the Massachusetts Democrat described the move as “arbitrary and capricious”.
“There seems to be a pattern that is developing in the aftermath of Brexit,” he said, referring to Britain’s unilateral decision to delay the introduction of checks by six months, in breach of the agreement.
“It was the arbitrary nature of how the UK challenged what they had previously agreed to…the sort of camouflaging it by suggesting that it is only about a temporary postponement,” added Mr Neal, who chairs the
powerful Ways and Means Committee.
Britain has argued that the move to delay the introduction of checks was
needed to keep goods on shelves in Northern Ireland. However, the EU is
now preparing legal action against the UK for breaking the terms of the
Brexit agreement, which required the checks to be introduced by April 1st.
British government plays down 40% slump in exports to EU
John FitzGerald: Ireland could end up as roadkill in UK’s game of chicken with EU
In a fresh warning to London, Mr Neal – who will have ultimate say over a trade deal between Britain and the United States in his capacity as chair
of the Ways and Means Committee – said the Belfast Agreement must be respected.
“This a reminder that there can be no disruption to the Good Friday Agreement, period. We see that agreement as a template that should be a
model for the rest of the world.
“The president has made his position very clear. Speaker Pelosi and I
have reinforced it. You have the executive and the legislative branch,
and the chair of the committee with oversight on trade saying there can
be no threat to the Good Friday Agreement and certainly no return to the
He also expressed annoyance that he had not been informed about Britain’s intentions despite speaking with Britain’s ambassador to the United
States and Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis recently.
“They did not tell me about the decision until after it was announced. There’s no room for unilateral action. One of the things in negotiations
are that surprises are not good.”
His intervention comes ahead of next week’s St Patrick’s Day virtual meeting between US president Joe Biden and Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
Britain is dispatching an official from the Northern Ireland Office to Washington in a bid to counter Irish influence in the US capital as
criticism grows at the highest levels in the US about Britain’s decision
to breach the terms of the Brexit agreement.
Mr Neal was speaking after a virtual meeting this week between the
Friends of Ireland caucus, a bipartisan group of Congress members, and EU Commissioner Marco Sefcovic and Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.
Ahead of St Patrick’s Day, the US Senate is preparing to unveil a new resolution in support of the Belfast Agreement to the floor early next