Tuesday 22 January 2019

Former UN chief warns on Brexit dangers

Former secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan
Former secretary general of the United Nations Kofi Annan

Shona Murray

The former secretary general of the United Nations has warned that Brexit poses a threat to peace in the North.

Kofi Annan said the Good Friday Agreement was "painstakingly achieved after complex negotiations" and involved compromises on all sides, as he insisted it must be protected.

Mr Annan said the agreement has helped secure peace in Northern Ireland for the past two decades and it will be under threat should a hard Border be introduced when the UK leaves the EU.

He was speaking on behalf of 'the Elders', an independent group of retired, experienced global leaders who work together to support conflict resolution.

They said any imposition of a "hard Border" as part of the Brexit process would "seriously undermine the agreement and all it has brought to communities across the island of Ireland".

Former president Mary Robinson, who is also a member of the group, said the Good Friday Agreement "needs to be protected".

The group's comments come as the June deadline for "significant and measurable" progress on the Irish Border issue appears on the horizon.

The Irish Government will insist that the UK government provides an agreeable legal interpretation of the backstop arrangement politically agreed by the UK and EU last December.

Brexit sources say nothing of any positive consequence has been forthcoming so far from the British side on the solution to preventing a physical border.

The Elders urged all the parties to withstand any pressure to abandon the commitment to protect the peace deal at all costs, in spite of Brexit goals.

Irish Independent

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