US

Joe Biden will visit Northern Ireland following a formal invitation from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The invitation was extended as the pair met for talks in San Diego to announce a nuclear submarine deal with Australia.

“It’s my intention to go to Northern Ireland and the Republic,” Mr Biden said as they met in Point Loma naval base.

Mr Sunak told the president: “I look forward to our conversations and also importantly, to invite you to Northern Ireland, which hopefully you will be able to do and so we can commemorate the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

“I know it’s something very special and personal to you. We’d love to have you over.”

Mr Biden said: “Twenty-five years? It seems like yesterday.”

Details of Mr Biden’s visit to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are expected to be revealed soon.

More on Ireland

The US president often highlights his Irish roots and has taken a keen interest in issues related to the agreement.

Mr Sunak revealed Mr Biden had also invited him to visit Washington DC in June.

Following the talks, he told reporters: “It’s great that we’re going to see each other a lot over the next few months.

“I was pleased to accept the president’s invitation to visit him in DC in June.”

What is the Good Friday Agreement?

The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) was signed with the aim to end the ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland at the time, known as the Troubles, which started in the late 1960s. The agreement was signed on 10 April 1998.

A new government was formed in Northern Ireland representing both sides in order to foster cooperation between the two communities.

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What is the Windsor Framework?

But Brexit rocked the political situation, with Northern Ireland being the only UK country to have a border with an EU nation – the Republic of Ireland.

Checks on the border would disrupt the GFA, according to both nations, so the controversial Northern Ireland Protocol was agreed in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The UK has since agreed to the Windsor Framework with the EU in an attempt to overcome the issues with the protocol.

The new post-Brexit deal was designed to reduce the number of checks on goods entering Northern Ireland ports by designating two lanes. Products travelling through Northern Ireland to reach the Republic – which is in the EU – will go via a red lane for all the relevant customs checks, while those being sent only to Northern Ireland will go via a green lane.

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