BILL CLINTON has hit out at the UK’s handling of the ongoing Brexit negotiations for creating “tremendous uncertainty” in Northern Ireland.
The Former US President played a key role in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement in a role he ranks among his greatest achievements while in office.
Like president-elect Joe Biden, he too has expressed concern over the Brexit withdrawal agreement and the emergence of a bill appearing to circumvent many of the rules in place to protect peace in the region.
Speaking at Bridging the Atlantic, a virtual conference on Irish-American relations, Clinton, 74, expressed optimism for the future of Northern Ireland, despite the current political climate.
Clinton said: “I know that even today, not all of the problems of Northern Ireland have been solved, that the gridlock of recent years has taken a heavy toll and that the ongoing Brexit negotiations are creating tremendous uncertainty”.
He continued: “But when I think back to all the hopeful faces I saw on that trip 25 years ago, and the pleas of the children whose only Christmas wish was for the bloodshed to end, it is so important to step back and remember that the peace we achieved through the Good Friday Agreement has held.”
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) November 17, 2020
The former US President also stressed the importance of celebrating the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement – an agreement he believes both the UK and EU must keep in mind while negotiating the terms of any post-Brexit relationship prior to the transition period deadline of December 31.
During the same event, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney echoed those sentiments and welcomed President-elect Biden’s commitment to safeguarding the Good Friday Agreement.
He noted that it was no accident that Taoiseach Micheal Martin was among first world leaders to speak to the 77-year-old following confirmation of his victory with Biden using the discussion to express his desire to protect the peace deal against the fallout of Brexit.
In another telling development, reports are indicating that Biden is planning to make Ireland his first destination for any diplomatic visit, with the President eager to reiterate America’s desire to help maintain peace in Northern Ireland.