Sunday, June 26

Boris Johnson Downplays Brexit Issues After G7 Talks With Biden | G7

Boris Johnson tried to downplay differences with Washington over how Brexit could affect Northern Ireland after talks with Joe Biden at the G7 summit, as he called the US president “a breath of fresh air. “.

Speaking to television reporters after bilateral talks with Biden at the summit venue in Cornwall, where, according to Downing Street, the pair discussed Covid and the climate emergency, as well as Northern Ireland, Johnson called the discussions ” very good “.

“There is no doubt that under President Biden there are a lot of things that the new US administration wants to do together with the UK, in everything from security working together, protecting our values ​​around the world together, but also on climate change, “he added. said the minister.

“So it’s a great breath of fresh air. It’s new, it’s interesting, and we’re working really hard together. “

Before the G7 summit, senior US diplomats in London warned Johnson’s Brexit negotiator Lord Frost that he would inflame tensions in Northern Ireland if he did not compromise with the EU over a stalemate on border controls.

Johnson expressed confidence that the United States and the United Kingdom could agree on this issue, but did not elaborate.

“One thing that we all absolutely want to do is respect the Belfast Good Friday agreement and make sure we keep the balance of the peace process. That is absolutely common ground, and I am absolutely optimistic that we can do that, ”he said.

The two leaders were all smiles as they waved to each other on camera before their talks, the location of which had to be moved to the St Michael’s Mount conference hotel near the Cornish coast due to bad weather.

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When Biden said the couple had “married above our station,” Johnson responded, “I’m not going to disagree with the president on that or anything else.” He added that it was “fantastic” to see Biden.

They met ahead of a weekend of talks among the world’s richest countries. Other leaders are expected to arrive on Friday.

While Brexit is not on the formal agenda, Johnson recently told Atlantic magazine: “We have sucked on that lemon,” the United States is concerned about Frost’s tactics on implementing post-Brexit border controls in Northern Ireland.

Frost has made a series of combative interventions in recent days, complaining about the “legal purism” of the EU’s approach to implementing the protocol, which he negotiated and to which Johnson joined.

Former government legal director Jonathan Jones, who resigned over Brexit, tweeted: “Is ‘legal purism’ what we now call ‘applying the law’?”

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, had criticized Washington’s message on the way to London on Thursday, telling reporters: “Any step that jeopardizes or undermines the Good Friday deal will not be welcomed by the United States.” .

The White House had Frost on the list of those who would be in the bilateral meeting, but it was later learned that he did not attend.

Louise Haigh, Secretary of the Northern Ireland Labor Party, said: “It is concerning on the eve of a summit so important that Boris Johnson’s actions are isolating Britain from our strongest allies. The prime minister personally negotiated the protocol, so he has a responsibility to make it work and protect the precious Good Friday deal. “

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