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Joe Biden Arrives in Northern Ireland

To mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, U.S. President Joe Biden will land in Belfast on Tuesday evening. He is expected at the Belfast International Airport tonight and will be received by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. He will be accompanied by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the US Special Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland Joseph Kennedy III, and the White House staff.

"The president will have the opportunity to engage with the political parties of Northern Ireland before his speech, and as we've said, he looks forward to continuing to engage them as we work to improve the lives and livelihoods of all communities there," said John Kirby of the White House national security.

The Good Friday Agreement, signed in 1998 by the then UK President Tony Blair and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, ended thirty years of conflict in Northern Ireland, known as the Troubles. The deal was supported and approved by public votes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and included different aspects like power-sharing government and Brexit.

Things, however, have changed since the year-long boycott by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), who are against the devolved power-sharing government that was fundamental to the deal. According to the DUP, the pro-Irish US president will not impact the protest.

According to the White House, Biden will give his address at Ulster University in Belfast and underscore the United States' readiness to support Northern Ireland's "vast economic potential."

"I think the president is anxious that the restoration of the (power-sharing) executive would pave the way for an economic agenda. That would be an important dividend of the visit," said the Irish Foreign Minister Micheál Martin.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar looks forward to the president’s visit, as there hasn't been an Irish American president as Joe Biden since [John F.] Kennedy. Joe Biden will spend three days in Ireland, addressing the Parliament in Dublin and visiting his ancestral homes on either coast and distant relatives on both sides of his family.



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