US Vice President Mike Pence urges UK and Europe to ‘negotiate in good faith’ on Brexit
US Vice President Mike Pence has called on the UK and EU ‘to negotiate in good faith’ on Brexit, firmly reiterating the Brexit-stance of the Trump administration. The comments were made on a visit to Ireland where he met with Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, today, Tuesday.
The Vice President held a firm line saying, ‘The United States supports the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union in Brexit, but we also recognize the unique challenges on your northern border. And I can assure you we will continue to encourage the United Kingdom and Ireland to ensure that any Brexit deal respects the Good Friday Agreement.’
He continued to say, ‘But as the deadline for Brexit approaches, we urge Ireland and the European Union, as well, to negotiate in good faith with Prime Minister Johnson and work to reach an agreement that respects the United Kingdom’s sovereignty and minimizes disruption to commerce.’
Taoiseach Varadkar spoke of the role the United States played in bringing peace to Northern Ireland and protecting the Good Friday Agreement for the last 20 years.
While referencing this shared history he then called on Vice President Pence for the ongoing support of the United States in the midst of ongoing Brexit negotiations.
He said, ‘The divergence between the UK and the European Union means that the return of a hard border on our island is a very real risk. And I know that you understand the impact that a hard border could have on this island — barriers to the free movement of people and frictionless trade, barriers to North-South cooperation, and the risk that the Good Friday Agreement and the peace could unravel.
And that’s why we, as a government, have to stand our ground on the withdrawal agreement — an agreement which was carefully negotiated over two years with the British government and overcomes these risks.’
He ended by saying, ‘And so, Mr. Vice President, all I ask is that you bring that message back to Washington with you. This isn’t a problem of our making. It is one we want to solve to an orderly Brexit and a withdrawal agreement that guarantees that there’ll be no hard border on this island.’
A statement issued by the White House said that outside of Brexit, ‘Vice President Pence commended Ireland’s ongoing cooperation with the United States and NATO partners on cyber security and counter-terrorism efforts, and urged Ireland to carefully consider the risks posed by untrustworthy vendors engaged in the development of 5G telecommunications infrastructure. The leaders agreed to work together to address this issue.’
The Irish leader is due to meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday for further Brexit talks.
(Image: Gage Skidmore via creativecommons.org)