US President Joe Biden called for the restoration of power-sharing in Northern Ireland during a speech at Ulster University in Belfast on Wednesday afternoon, April 12.

"As a friend, I hope it’s not too presumptuous for me to say that I believe democratic institutions established through the Good Friday Agreement remain critical for the future of Northern Ireland," Biden said during his address at Ulster University.

"It’s a decision for you to make, not for me to make. But it seems to me they’re related.

"An effective, devolved government that reflects the people of Northern Ireland and is accountable to them. A government that works to find ways through hard problems together is going to draw even greater opportunity in this region.

"So I hope that the Assembly and the Executive will soon be restored — that’s a judgment for you to make, not me, but I hope it happens — along with the institutions that facilitate North-South and East-West relations, all of which are vital pieces of the Good Friday Agreement."

Elsewhere in his address on Wednesday, Biden paid tribute to the signatories of the Good Friday Agreement, praising the "determined efforts" of his "close friend" US Senator George Mitchell

"His time serving as Special Envoy for Northern Ireland is one of the great examples in history of the right person for the right job at the right time, in my view," Biden remarked.

Biden also referenced the shooting of PSNI officer John Caldwell, who remains in serious condition in hospital after being shot multiple times at a sports complex in Omagh, Co Tyrone on February 22. 

Biden stated that the response of Northern Ireland's political leaders to the attack was a sign that "the enemies of peace will not prevail." 

"The attack was a hard reminder there will always be those who seek to destroy, rather than rebuild.

"But the lesson of the Good Friday Agreement is this: at times when things seem fragile or easily broken, that is when hope and hard work are needed the most."

Concluding his speech, Biden said that the US remains dedicated to Northern Ireland: "This place is transformed by peace, made technicolor by peace, made whole by peace.

"So today, I come to Belfast to pledge to all the people of Northern Ireland: The United States of America will continue to be your partner in building the future the young people of our world deserve.

"It matters to us, to Americans, and to me personally."

You can watch President Biden's speech at Ulster University here: