Biden says he intends to visit Northern Ireland for peace anniversary
SAN DIEGO, California (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday he accepted an invitation by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to visit Northern Ireland in April for the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which largely brought an end to political violence there.
At a summit to launch the next phase of the AUKUS defense agreement between the United States, Australia and Britain, Sunak asked Biden if he would attend the celebrations.
"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," Sunak said at the start of a bilateral meeting at the U.S. Navy's Point Loma naval base in San Diego.
"I know it’s something very special and personal to you," Sunak said. "We’d love to have you over."
Biden replied that his intention was "to go to Northern Ireland and the Republic (of Ireland)."
The Good Friday Agreement was a peace deal that largely ended the "Troubles," three decades of violence that had convulsed Northern Ireland since the late 1960s. It was signed on April 10, 1998, and partially brokered by the U.S. government of then-President Bill Clinton.
The anniversary had been overshadowed in recent months after Northern Ireland's largest unionist party boycotted the power-sharing assembly that made up part of the peace deal, to protest post-Brexit trade rules that treated the province differently from the rest of the United Kingdom.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Leslie Adler)