Biden meeting with British prime minister in Northern Ireland

Biden meeting with British prime minister in Northern Ireland
Posted at 10:56 AM, Apr 12, 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden is meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

This is the second day of President Biden's trip, marking the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of violence in the region.

But protesters against this peace deal are turning to violence.

Four suspected pipe bombs were discovered in a cemetery, and a small group set fire to a police car on the anniversary of the Easter uprising ahead of the president's visit.

Scripps News has not heard any details yet from the meeting between President Biden and the British prime minister apart from one report by a British journalist who was there for the photo call and heard President Biden say that he was in Belfast to "listen."

President Biden is meeting with five leaders of the main political parties in Northern Ireland, who are currently in a political deadlock.

They have not been sitting in a functional government for over a year now, and there have been some calls for President Biden to put pressure on them to get back to the table.

There has also been some controversy; the White House is being forced to deny that President Biden is anti-British.

SEE MORE: President Biden declines invitation to King Charles' coronation

President Biden came under criticism for spending less than 24 hours in Northern Ireland before going on to spend nearly three days in the Republic of Ireland. 

The former leader of the main Unionist Party in Northern Ireland said that President Biden "hates" the U.K.

That is something that the White House has denied, saying that he has consistently worked with all the different stakeholders in Northern Ireland, and there has been criticism from some groups that his Irish Catholic background makes him biased, which is something President Biden also denied.

The meeting is expected to have some emphasis on what the opportunities are for Northern Ireland. However, President Biden isn't going to pressure leaders into any kind of restoration of power sharing, which was one of the fundamental tenets of the Good Friday Agreement.

The discussion is expected to be mostly focused on what kind of investment the United States can bring to Northern Ireland and if the country is able to restore political stability. There's also going to be a lot of talk about business cooperation between Northern Ireland and the U.S., which is the biggest investor in the region.

That's all coming ahead of a major investment conference the U.K. is holding in Ireland later in the year.

So, it's expected to very much be based on the offering of an incentive to political leaders rather than any kind of reprimanding for not being able to power share in Northern Ireland.