US President Joe Biden has urged Boris Johnson to ensure the Northern Ireland peace process is protected in his bitter row with Brussels over post-Brexit trade deals, the White House has revealed.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Mr Biden – who spoke of his pride in his Irish roots – had a “frank discussion” with the Prime Minister on the issue during the G7 summit in Cornwall.
Responding to questions from US reporters, Mr Sullivan said the president expressed his point of view with “deep sincerity” but declined to go into details, suggesting that Mr Biden may have delivered his message with a certain feeling.
“All I’m going to say: they discussed this issue. They discussed it frankly in private, ”Sullivan said.
“The President naturally, and with deep sincerity, encouraged the Prime Minister to protect the Good Friday Agreement and the progress made under it.
“Details beyond that, I won’t go into detail.”
Mr Sullivan would not question whether the President linked the issue to a free trade agreement with the UK and did not specify when the conversation took place.
The two leaders held a bilateral meeting on Thursday before the main summit began and Mr Johnson subsequently played down any differences between them on the issue.
The disclosure came as the rally ended in a furious diplomatic row after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused French President Emmanuel Macron and other EU figures of talking about Northern Ireland “As if it were some kind of country different from the UK”.
He called these attitudes “offensive” and called on the EU to show “respect” as such comments have raised deep concern in Northern Ireland.
In his closing press conference, Mr Macron firmly denied that he had ever questioned British sovereignty, but insisted that the UK must honor the commitments Mr Johnson made in the deal. withdrawal of Brexit.
“On this subject, everyone must come to their senses, and my wish is that we succeed, collectively, in setting in motion what we all decided together several months ago,” he said.
“We have to do it with peace of mind and with mutual respect, and I think controversy every morning is not helpful.”
The continuing row over the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol into the deal – intended to protect the peace process by ensuring there is no return to a hard border with the Republic – has eclipsed a large part of the top.
Mr Johnson reiterated his warning that he could unilaterally delay the final checks on chilled meats transferred from Britain to Northern Ireland – which are expected to come into effect at the end of the month – unless he is not there is a resolution of the dispute.
The EU has previously said its patience is running out “very, very thin” and threatened to launch a trade war unless the UK meets its treaty obligations.