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Boris Johnson on Monday urged federalists and Republicans in Northern Ireland to agree to an end to the political paralysis, ten days after local elections that led to a historic Sinn Féin Republican victory. Unionists refuse to participate in the executive if the Brexit-linked Northern Irish Protocol is not scrapped.
Ten days after the historic victory of the Republicans of Sinn Féin in local elections, the institutions of Northern Ireland are at a standstill. Visiting Belfast on Monday 16 May British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is visiting Belfast on Monday 16 May in the hope of ending this political paralysis.
At the core of this impasse, the DUP’s refusal of federalists to participate in the province’s executive, nevertheless must be shared under the terms of the 1998 peace agreement – an agreement that ended three decades of known bloody conflict. In the name of “troubles”. They have thus blocked the functioning of the Northern Ireland Assembly, making the election of its Speaker impossible for the time being.
Tensions around Northern Irish Protocol
By union with Great Britain, the federalists thus intended to oppose the Northern Irish Protocol, between London and Brussels to answer the delicate question of the boundary between British Northern Ireland and the European Republic of Ireland after Brexit. An agreement was signed. This text creates a de facto customs border with Great Britain and, according to them, threatens the place of this province within the United Kingdom.
Referring to this protocol, Boris Johnson explained on television that the government “does not want to remove it” because “we believe it can be fixed”. He said leaders of the five parties he met in turn on Monday “also decided” that they “needed reform”.
Upon his arrival at Hillsborough Castle on the outskirts of Belfast – where the talks are taking place – Boris Johnson was incensed by about 200 protesters, including anti-Brexit activists and relatives of victims of “troublemakers”.
Following her meeting with the British Prime Minister, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald described the meeting as a “quite difficult” one that did not provide a “clear answer”. According to him, “despite all the rhetoric of the British government about restoring the executive here in the north, its priority is really to please the DUP”.
For his part, the leader of the DUP, Jeffrey Donaldson, called for “action”, not “words”: “I want the government to enact a law that will provide the solutions we need”.
According to the British press, the British government may announce a bill that allows the government to unilaterally suspend parts of the protocol, by invoking Article 16 of it. Adoption would take weeks and set the stage for a longer period of crisis between the EU and the US. London but also in Northern Ireland. Downing Street said Secretary of State Liz Truss is due to present the government’s “argument” to parliament on Tuesday, stressing the need for “urgent progress”.
London is threatening unilateral action to cancel the deal. An unacceptable position for the European Union that criticizes Boris Johnson for deliberately going back on a signed treaty, even if it means violating international law, and threatening serious trade retaliation. “I hope the position of the European Union will change,” Boris Johnson wrote in an op-ed in the Belfast Telegraph, failing which “action will be necessary” to protect the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.
According to Downing Street, London’s “argument” is to be presented to British Parliament on Tuesday by diplomacy chief Liz Truss, stressing the need for “urgent progress”.
“The last thing Europe needs”
Northern Irish institutions had already experienced three years of paralysis against the backdrop of a financial scandal, before an agreement in January 2020 allowed the resumption of their operations.
Arriving at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney warned against “unilateral action or threats of unilateral action”, which would violate international law.
Such acts in Ukraine are “the last thing Europe needs when we are working so well together to counter Russian aggression”, he insisted, following the Northern Irish Protocol and concluded between London and Brussels. The Free Trade Agreement is “linked”. ,
Tipped to become the new prime minister of Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill accused the DUP of ‘holding society hostage to the difficult Brexit brought about by his friends from Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party’ Is.
After meeting with Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin in Dublin, he reprimanded Boris Johnson for repeatedly threatening unilateral action, a move he called “insanity”.
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