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Coveney and Pelosi meet in 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Stateside

Coveney to discuss Northern Ireland and Brexit issues as he meets Pelosi in Washington

Irish politicians in the US have rubbished claims by a UK minister that Joe Biden doesn’t understand Brexit.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER Simon Coveney is in Washington DC to hold talks with the speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi today.

On the agenda will be US/Irish relations, issues affecting Northern Ireland, the ongoing implementation of the Brexit agreement as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also on Capitol Hill, Coveney will meet a large number of cross-party Senators and members of Congress including the Friends of Ireland caucus.

Brexit will feature prominently as it did on Wednesday when the minister briefed the European American Chamber of Commerce in New York.

President Joe Biden warned UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week that the Northern Ireland peace process should be not be jeopardised by issues in dealing with the Northern Ireland protocol.

Speaking in the Oval Office on Tuesday, the US president stressed the importance of maintaining the Good Friday Agreement.

“I feel very strongly,” he said, when asked about the Northern Ireland protocol.

“I would not like to see – nor would many of my Republican colleagues – a change in the Irish accord,” said Biden. 

UK Environment Secretary George Eustice yesterday claimed that Biden doesn’t understand the “very complicated” situation in Northern Ireland.

When asked about this yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin told reporters that such an assertion is “wrong”.

Speaking on the same matter yesterday evening in New York, before departing for Washington, Coveney said anyone that suggests that President Biden “doesn’t understand the consequences of Brexit” for Ireland “hasn’t been listening to what Joe Biden has been saying consistently now for a number of years”.

“I can assure you, we are speaking to a very informed audience.”

Last night, before catching a train to Washington DC, Coveney concluded his bilateral programme at the UN General Assembly in New York with a meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.

Also at UNGA, the Minister attended a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers and held talks with senior UN officials on the conflicts in Ethiopia and the Middle East.

As part of Ireland’s work on the UN Security Council, the minister held bilateral meetings with the governments of Kosovo, Algeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. 

He attended the UN Security Council Informal Interactive Dialogue with the League of Arab States. The meetings covered issues relating to humanitarian crises in Yemen and Syria, as well as the Middle East peace process.

It is understood the minister also touched on Israel and Palestine during a meeting with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry yesterday, reiterating the need to maintain calm in Gaza.

TheJournal.ie’s Political Correspondent Christina Finn will be bringing you all the latest updates from Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s visit to New York this week.

Stay up-to-date by following @christinafinn8@TJ_Politics@thejournal_ie and TheJournal.ie’s Facebook page

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