US politicians demand Joe Biden appoints special envoy to Northern Ireland

A group of senior US politicians have written to President Joe Biden asking him to appoint a special envoy for Northern Ireland.

The position remains vacant following the departure of Mick Mulvaney, who was appointed by ex-President Donald Trump.

Past envoys include George Mitchell, Richard Haass and Gary Hart.

A letter signed by Bill Keating, the chair of the US Foreign Affairs Committee’s Europe subcommittee, and 34 other bipartisan members of Congress say an appointment is urgently needed.

He warns that the peace and stability created by the Good Friday Agreement are in jeopardy.

It said: “To mark the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, we urge you to appoint a US Special Representative for Northern Ireland.

“The recent turmoil in Northern Ireland and the deadlock in restoring Northern Ireland’s decentralized government following the May election continue to threaten the peace and stability created by the Good Friday Agreement.”

The letter refers to the “powerful role” the US has played in ensuring peace and maintaining stability in Northern Ireland.

It adds: “It is clear that US leadership and investment in Northern Ireland is both valued and appreciated and helpful in promoting peace and reconciliation.

“In light of these facts, the appointment of a special envoy will undoubtedly promote further peace and continue the long-standing US commitment to peace on the island.”

The letter claims that the key principles underlying the Good Friday Agreement face “looming, targeted threats” from the UK government’s controversial moves to tear up the NI Protocol and its attempts to deal with the legacy.

The letter adds: “These measures undermine international law, threaten to trigger a trade war between the European Union and the United Kingdom (protocol legislation) and risk nearly 25 years of progress following the Good Friday Agreement.

“Mr President, the Good Friday Agreement remains the framework to solve today’s problems and ensure peace and prosperity tomorrow.

“Given your strong, determined and personal commitment to peace on the island of Ireland, we urge you to appoint a special envoy to continue the historic US role in facilitating compromise and negotiations in Northern Ireland and ensuring peace and stability remains in Northern Ireland.”

A second letter, signed by Mr Keating and 30 other members of Congress and sent to Speaker Lord McFall, attacks the Government’s plans on legacy.

The Troubles of Northern Ireland (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act has been widely criticized for claims that it would provide amnesty for those who committed crimes during the Troubles.

The law passed the House of Commons and is currently on a second reading in the House of Lords.

The letter calls for alternative avenues to justice to ensure accountability for victims of violence during the riots and their families.

It said: “We urge you and your colleagues in the House of Lords to consider alternative avenues to bring real, concrete accountability to victims and their families, and we urge you to take all action at your disposal to ensure that this legislation does not preclude service of justice and accountability in Northern Ireland.”

Mr Keating said the two letters underscore the US commitment to peace in Northern Ireland

He added: “The appointment of a US special envoy to Northern Ireland is essential to the US role in maintaining the Good Friday Agreement and would ensure the US can act as a mediator.

“In addition, consideration of alternative avenues of justice is essential to the peace and stability outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.” US politicians demand Joe Biden appoints special envoy to Northern Ireland

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