Biden administration wants dialogue over Northern Ireland protocol to continue

The White House said it recognised there had been ‘challenges’ over its implementation

The Biden administration has urged the British government and the European Union to continue talking about resolving difficulties over the Northern Ireland protocol.

The UK has signalled it may legislate to override parts of the protocol if agreement on making changes is not reached.

The White House said it recognised that there had been "challenges" over the implementation of the protocol and that talks should continue to try to resolve these issues.

“The best path forward is a pragmatic one that requires courage, cooperation and leadership. We urge the parties to continue engaging in dialogue to resolve differences and bring negotiations to a successful conclusion,” it said.

"We underscore our continued support for a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice and enjoy the gains of the hard-won peace," a White House spokesman said.

The special representative of the UK prime minister to the US on the Northern Ireland protocol Conor Burns has been meeting politicians in Washington this week. He said on Wednesday the British government wanted a negotiated agreement with the EU.

Flexibility

He said flexibility was needed when the manner in which the protocol was currently being implemented did not command the confidence of the unionist community.

He said the British government wanted to see differences in the checks applied to goods from Great Britain that were destined to remain in Northern Ireland for sale and consumption and those intended to travel onwards to the Republic of Ireland and into the EU single market.

“We think there is way to do that without having the same rigour of checks for goods for sale in Northern Ireland.”

He said EU negotiators had said they had reached the limit of their mandate and the British authorities wanted to see if this could be broadened.

“If we reach a point where that is impossible then clearly we will have to take decisions and actions to protect peace, power sharing and the institutions of the Good Friday agreement, but we are not at that point yet.”

He said the British government was not putting in place arbitrary deadlines.

On Thursday one of the leading Irish American politicians, chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, Richard Neal urged political leaders in Northern Ireland to re-established a government.

Following a meeting with Mr Burns he said: “The people of Northern Ireland just underwent a seismic election, and now, their newly elected officials must carry out their democratic duty through the power-sharing institutions established by the Good Friday agreement . I reiterated the need for focusing on getting this new government up and running with Minister Burns and emphasized that all parties must stay the course to find durable solutions to implement the protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland and preserve peace and stability on the island.”