US Vice President Mike Pence urges Ireland and EU to negotiate Brexit 'in good faith' with Boris Johnson
American Vice-President Mike Pence has taken a very deliberate swipe at the EU, suggesting they have not acted in good faith during the Brexit negotiations.
His intervention, made in Dublin, will have been the exact opposite of what the Irish government would have hoped to gain from visit.
Speaking at an event alongside Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Mr Pence warned that Ireland and the EU need to allow the UK protect its sovereignty.
He added that the US will move quickly to complete a trade deal with the UK after Brexit.
Mr Pence said the Trump administration is “clear” in its support for the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
“But we also recognise the unique challenges on your northern border,” he told Mr Vardakar at Farmleigh House.
“And I can assure you we will continue to encourage the United Kingdom and Ireland, to ensure that any Brexit respects the Good Friday Agreement.”
However, he added: “As the deadline for Brexit approaches we urge Ireland and the European Union, as well, to negotiate in good faith with Prime Minister Johnson, and work to reach an agreement that respects the United Kingdom's sovereignty and minimises the disruption to commerce.
“The United States will look to play whatever hopeful role we can play. As President Trump announced last week, when Brexit is complete, the United States will have a new trade agreement with the United Kingdom.”
In his contribution, Mr Varadkar pleaded with the Vice-President to bring an understanding of the Irish position back to Washington.
He said Ireland and the UK had decided “to travel a different course” which brings a number of risks.
The Taoiseach described a hard border as a result of Brexit as “a very real risk”.
Mr Varadkar said Brexit could create barriers to north-south co-operation and risk peace.
“We as a government have to stand our ground on the agreement.
“All I ask is that you bring that message back to Washington with you.
“This isn’t a problem of our making. It is one we want to solve,” Mr Varadkar said.
More to follow...