US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has warned the UK Government that there will be no US-UK trade deal if the Good Friday Agreement was damaged by unilateral changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Pelosi said in a statement on Thursday: “The Good Friday Accords are the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and a beacon of hope for the entire world. Ensuring there remains no physical border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is absolutely necessary for upholding this landmark agreement, which has transformed Northern Ireland.
The Good Friday Accords are the bedrock of peace in Northern Ireland and a beacon of hope for the world. Ensuring there is no physical border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is necessary for upholding this landmark agreement, which transformed Northern Ireland.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 19, 2022
“It is deeply concerning that the United Kingdom is now seeking to unilaterally discard the Northern Ireland Protocol. Negotiated agreements like the Protocol preserve the important progress and stability forged by the Good Friday Accords, which continue to enjoy strong bipartisan and bicameral support in the United States Congress.
"As I have stated in my conversations with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, and Members of the House of Commons, if the United Kingdom chooses to undermine the Good Friday Accords, the Congress cannot and will not support a bilateral free trade agreement with the United Kingdom.
“Respectful of the will of the British people and of Brexit, I urge constructive, collaborative, and good-faith negotiations to implement an agreement that upholds peace.
"The children of Northern Ireland, who have never known the bloody conflict and do not want to go back, deserve a future free of the violence where all may reach their fulfillment.”
Colum Eastwood, head of the SDLP in Northern Ireland, quote tweeted Pelosi's statement and said, "Are you listening, Boris Johnson?"
Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney also reacted to Pelosi's statement, saying that he was looking forward to meeting UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss "to urge the U.K. Government to move away from threats of unilaterally breaching international law & damaging international relations."
I look forward to meeting @trussliz today to urge the U.K. Government to move away from threats of unilaterally breaching international law & damaging international relations.— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) May 20, 2022
EU remains ready to negotiate pragmatic solutions to outstanding Protocol issues through partnership. https://t.co/qI7WBqHphX
Michelle O'Neill, the Vice President of Sinn Féin, also retweeted Pelosi's statement.
Pelosi's comments come after UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced on Monday that the UK would be pushing ahead with changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol despite warnings from Ireland, the wider EU, and the US. The UK Government will override parts of the Protocol unless it can reach a compromise with the EU in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, the DUP is currently blocking the re-establishment of power-sharing in Northern Ireland, citing concerns over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Unionists have raised concerns about the Protocol, claiming that it threatens Northern Ireland's position in the UK by creating a de facto trade border down the Irish Sea.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin traveled to Northern Ireland on Friday to meet with politicians and business leaders in an effort to break the Stormont impasse over the Protocol.
The Taoiseach told BBC Radio Ulster that "professional, serious negotiations" between the EU and the UK were the "only way" to break the current impasse.
Martin said the UK Government had "moved too far in a unilateral way" on certain issues, including the Northern Ireland Protocol and amnesty for Troubles-era killings.
"In my view that is not fully in accordance with the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement which involves collaboration, working together," Martin said.
He also criticized the DUP for not going into government following Northern Ireland's elections earlier in May, arguing that in a democracy, parliament should convene after voters elected a government.