Joe Biden will meet Boris Johnson in person for the first time Thursday, with hopes for a new US-UK ‘Atlantic Charter’ undermined by “deep” concerns in Washington over the post-Brexit situation in Northern Ireland.
Biden’s anxiety was transmitted directly to London earlier this month by America’s oldest diplomat in Britain, who warned the UK to stop igniting tensions in Northern Ireland new Brexit trading rules.
Yael Lempert has issued a statement, a formal diplomatic reprimand, urging Britain to make “unpopular compromises” if necessary to alleviate tensions over the so-called Northern Ireland protocol.
Downing Street has not commented, but the incident confirms that the NI line is insulting from the start of the G7 summit, which starts Friday in Cornwall, and damages relations with Britain’s main economic partners and allies.
The EU threatens trade sanctions if Johnson unilaterally breaks promises he made in relation to Northern Ireland, and the G7 host will face clumsy clashes in the coming days with French leaders, Germany, Italy is the same EU.
According to a note from the British government seen by the Times, Lempert told Lord David Frost, Brexit minister, on 3 June that the UK was “igniting” tensions in Ireland and Europe with its rhetoric about certain controls in NI ports.
The note said the United States “strongly urged” Britain to reach a “negotiated agreement”, even if it meant “unpopular compromises”. The British note from the meeting said Lempert had ordered Britain to keep things “cool”, suggesting that Britain had “inflamed the rhetoric”.
He added: “Lempert said the United States was increasingly concerned about the stalemate in implementing the protocol. This was undermining the trust of our two main allies.”
The revelation of the meeting confirmed the anxiety felt by Biden about the UK / EU situation over the border issue in Northern Ireland. Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, said the president had “deep” concerns about the future of the peace process in the region.
A senior government official told the Financial Times that the United States had raised its concerns about Northern Ireland with the United Kingdom in a private message ahead of its summit. But the official said the discussion was not directed by the president and “was not accentuated.”
Frost and Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission, failed Wednesday to resolve the issue on the operation of the protocol, which in effect introduces a trade border into the Irish Sea. “There has been no progress, there has been no damage either,” Frost said.
Johnson claims that EU demands for controls on goods moving between Britain and Northern Ireland are too onerous and disrupt trade, igniting tensions in the pro-UK unionist community.
The problem is a major distraction for Johnson ahead of his talks with Biden, to which the two leaders will sign a new ‘Atlantic Charter’ – an attempt to evoke US-UK cooperation in war and the 1941 charter signed by Churchill and Roosevelt who traced a new world order.
The new document, to be signed in Cornwall with British carrier HMS Prince of Wales in the background, will engage both sides in defending democracy and free trade – under the guise of a common front against authoritarian regimes in Beijing and Moscow.
After arriving in Britain Wednesday evening, Biden told U.S. military personnel that he saw next week’s G7 summit and NATO summit as critical moments for America to reaffirm its commitment. their global leadership after the Trump years.
Biden, who will also meet with Vladimir Putin next week, said after arriving at RAF Mildenhall air base: “At every point along the way, we will make it clear that the United States is back and that the democracies of the world is standing together to face the toughest challenges and issues that matter most to our future. ”