WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this week traveled to Belfast and London to discuss the ongoing U.K.-EU trade negotiations, the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland, and Congress’s bipartisan interest in the continued implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.
Here’s what they’re saying:
Belfast Telegraph: Senator says US will push London and Brussels for deal on protocol
A US senator has said he expects the United States will have to “push a little bit” on both London and Brussels to secure a deal over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the US Foreign Relations Committee, also said he would not support any bilateral trade agreement between the US and the UK while outstanding issues with the post-Brexit protocol still remained to be resolved.
Speaking at Stormont, he said: “I am here on behalf of Republicans and Democrats in the United States Senate who are interested in continuing our legacy of friendship with Northern Ireland.
“This is a critical moment for Northern Ireland as we are watching the negotiation play out over the future of the protocol.
“We want to make sure that the protocol is moved forward in a way that benefits all of the people of Northern Ireland.
“To my mind, it would not be good for Northern Ireland if Article 16 was invoked, which could ultimately provoke a crisis, a trade war which would act to the detriment of the people here.”
He added: “This is a negotiation between Britain and the European Union, but the United States, having been an important player in the Good Friday Agreement, wants to make sure that nothing happens with respect to Britain’s departure from the European Union that compromises peace here in Northern Ireland.
“My visits here in Belfast and tomorrow in London are intended to demonstrate that there are Republicans and Democrats in the Congress that want to make sure that negotiations over the protocol are conducted in a way that does not compromise the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.
“I think that something can be worked out by the end of this year, but it will likely involve the United States pushing a little bit, both on London and on Brussels.”
Express: US sounds alarm bells as Senator warns Britain to fix Brexit protocol over peace fears
Democratic Senator for Connecticut, Chris Murphy, explained many US senators were growing concerned over the "last stages of Brexit" and feared without proper negotiation, Northern Ireland's peace could be under threat. Senator Murphy revealed upholding the Good Friday Agreement had cross-party support in the US and was concerned implementing Article 16 as a political tactic would hurt that. The US politician believed Article 16 would plunge Northern Ireland into "economic chaos" as he voiced the concerns some have over in America.
He continued: “You've got a lot of members of Congress who care deeply about the Good Friday Agreement and many of us feel that exercising Article 16 could plunge Northern Ireland into economic chaos.
“Which could lead to political instability and we need to press this message in Brussels as well.
“Brussels needs to come to the table and agree to be flexible on the implementation of the protocol but there is certainly a lot of American interest in making sure that we preserve the foundations of the Good Friday Agreement.”
Sky News: Senator: US trade deal could be at risk if the Good Friday Agreement is damaged