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UK PM Rishi Sunak Calls For Efforts To Break Stormont Deadlock Ahead Of Biden Visit To NI

The Good Friday agreement has been “based on compromise”, which should be the defining message for the next chapter in Northern Ireland, said UK PM.

UK News
| Written By
Saumya joshi
Rishi Sunak

Image: AP

The Good Friday agreement has been “based on compromise”, which should be the defining message for the next chapter in Northern Ireland, said UK PM Rishi Sunak during the peace deal’s 25th anniversary. His remarks come at a time when he is scheduled to US President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening on a visit to mark the anniversary, though on a shorter trip than initially expected. Biden would be addressing Ulster University’s newly opened Belfast campus on Wednesday and then would go to the Republic.

 The UK PM said "There was “work to be done” by a new generation of politicians to restore the government at Stormont “as soon as possible”. Rishi Sunak and Ireland’s taoiseach Leo Varadkar have been preparing to intensify work to broker a way out of the deadlock. On Saturday, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald expressed frustration about Biden having no chance to address Stormont because of the Democratic Unionist party’s refusal to enter power-sharing, saying he should be received by the “first minister, Michelle O’Neill, and should be addressing the assembly”.

25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement 

On 10 April 1998, the Belfast Agreement also known as the Good Friday agreement was signed between the warring Unionists and the Republicans. Under the agreement, the two sides agreed to share power through a devolved government. While talking about the agreement Sunak acknowledged that this was due to the partnership between the British and Irish governments as well as “huge international support from our closest allies”, as demonstrated by Biden’s visit. “But most importantly, it is based on compromise in Northern Ireland itself,” said the UK PM. 

“As we look forward, we will celebrate those who took difficult decisions, accepted compromise, and showed leadership – showing bravery, perseverance, and political imagination," said Sunak while addressing the 25th anniversary. Further, he added, " While it is time to reflect on the solid progress we have made together, we must also recommit to redoubling our efforts on the promise made in 1998 and the agreements that followed.”

Sunak reminded the promise of the  Good Friday agreement which revolves around “economic opportunity, prosperity, and stability". This partnership is a "promise we must continue to fulfil". So we must get on with the business of governance, said the UK PM on the occasion of the 25th anniversary. He also showed the UK's commitment "to work" with their partners in the Irish government and local parties to make sure that "the institutions are up and running again as soon as possible.” However, according to Keir Starmer, Labour leader, the celebrations would mark the achievements of politicians who had brokered the deal, including the last Labour government. The Labour leader Starmer has himself spent several years advising the Police Service of Northern Ireland in the wake of the Belfast agreement. 

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