WASHINGTON—As officials from the European Union and the United Kingdom negotiate trade relations and agreements moving forward, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have issued the following statement in support of maintaining the Good Friday Agreement:
“The 1998 Good Friday Agreement helped bring peace to Northern Ireland after decades of violence that took the lives of thousands. The United States played an important role forging this peace and ensuring it endures is a priority for our country. As negotiations around Brexit proceed, we strongly support the continued implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, including maintaining an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.” said the senators.
Background from the Congressional Research Service:
· Between 1969 and 1999, almost 3,500 people died as a result of political violence in Northern Ireland.
· Successive U.S. Administrations and many Members of Congress have actively supported the Northern Ireland peace process.
· In 1998, the UK and Irish governments and key Northern Ireland political parties reached a negotiated political settlement – the Good Friday Agreement, or Belfast Agreement.
· Agreement called for devolved government—the transfer of specified powers from London to Belfast— and contained provisions on decommissioning (disarmament) of paramilitary weapons, policing, human rights, UK security normalization (demilitarization), and the status of prisoners.