London, Apr 12 (PTI):
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met Joe Biden at Belfast in Northern Ireland on Wednesday during the US President’s historic visit to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
During bilateral talks, dubbed by some in the British media as a “bi-latte” alluding to a rather brief discussion in a hotel cafe, Biden and Sunak are said to have covered the range of the “thriving” UK-US relationship.
The two leaders also reiterated the importance of working through global forums such as the G20 the presidency of which is held by India at present.
“They agreed that manipulation of global markets by authoritarian leaders demonstrates, more than ever, the need for like-minded partners to work together to support the economic health and security of our nations,” said a Downing Street readout of the talks.
“They looked forward to discussing the issue of economic security further during the G7 Summit next month and the Prime Minister’s visit to Washington DC in June. They also agreed on the importance of using global forums like the G7 and G20 to challenge economic coercion and market manipulation, and promote the economic well-being of our countries,” it said.
Biden’s Air Force One was greeted at the tarmac of Belfast International Airport by Sunak on Tuesday night for a trip to the island of Ireland to mark 25 years of the Good Friday Agreement, signed this week in 1998. The agreement, signed by then British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish counterpart, Bertie Ahern, backed by then US President Bill Clinton, brought an end to 30 years of conflict in Northern Ireland, known as the Troubles.
“As a friend, I hope it’s not too presumptuous for me to say that I believe democratic institutions established through the Good Friday Agreement remain critical to the future of Northern Ireland,” Biden said in his carefully worded speech before leaving for Dublin in neighbouring Ireland.
On Brexit, the US President who has his own familial roots in Ireland appeared to back the deal recently clinched by Sunak: “The Windsor Framework addresses the practical realities of Brexit… and it’s an essential step to ensuring hard-earned peace and progress.
“I believe the stability and predictability offered by this framework all encourage greater investment in Northern Ireland. Significant investment in Northern Ireland.”
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sunak described his meeting with Biden as a “good discussion” on a range of issues.
“I think, actually, the relationship is in great shape and the president and I have lots we are working on together,” he said.
The British Indian leader also hailed the “immensely proud” decision for a joint UK-Ireland bid to host the Euro 2028 football championships.
“Football has a habit of creating special memories and in 2028 we want to create new memories for a new generation across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland,” said Sunak.
“This would be the biggest sporting event our islands have ever jointly staged. Our bid promises not only world-class stadia, excellent transport links and the world’s best fans but also the opportunity to build a lasting grassroots legacy. Euro 2028 would be an incredible showcase of all that the UK & Ireland have to offer and another landmark moment in our proud sporting history. I am immensely proud to be backing the bid,” he added.
The Football Associations across Britain and Ireland officially submitted their attempt to bring the European Championships to the islands earlier on Wednesday.
London, Apr 12 (PTI):