The House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed a resolution that requires strict adherence to the Good Friday Agreement, which maintains a soft border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, during Brexit negotiations, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi’s (D-Glen Cove) office said Wednesday.
The resolution, introduced by Suozzi and U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), ensures that any trade deal post-Brexit between the United Kingdom and the United States will require the U.K. to uphold the Good Friday Agreement, Suozzi’s office said.
Suozzi’s office said that the resolution urges the U.K. and European Union to ensure that Brexit does not threaten peace on the island of Ireland, strongly opposes the reintroduction of a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, insists that any trade agreements between the U.S. and U.K. are contingent on meeting the Good Friday Agreement’s obligations and finally calls for continued dialogue between all parties in Northern Ireland in order to overcome political challenges and get power-sharing institutions operating again
The resolution will now advance to the full House for a vote, Suozzi’s office said.
“During these difficult times of often partisan and divided government in the United States, it is gratifying to see such overwhelming bipartisan support to ensure that Brexit and other political challenges don’t threaten the Good Friday Agreement and the peace process by reintroducing a hard border. Ireland is one of the oldest and closest friends of the United States, and the Irish people have been a crucial part of the fabric of our nation for well over a century,” Suozzi said.
He continued, “I thank my colleague Peter King, as well as applaud Chairman Engel and the Foreign Affairs Committee for passing our bipartisan legislation and hope it will be passed by the House of Representatives in short order.”
“Support for the Good Friday Agreement is crucial at this critical time. The United States must affirm that the final Brexit deal retains language preventing the return of a hard border,” King said.
Former Senator George Mitchell, who Suozzi’s office said served as United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland from 1995 to 2001, praised Suozzi and King’s resolution.
“I commend Congressmen Suozzi and King for their leadership on House Resolution 585. The EU and the UK government have publicly and repeatedly promised that there will not be a return to a hard border. That promise must be kept,” Mitchell said.
He continued, “House Resolution 585 is a bipartisan effort to reaffirm support for the Good Friday Agreement and other agreements to ensure a lasting peace in Northern Ireland. That is a worthy objective which deserves widespread support.”
As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over any trade agreements between the U.S. and U.K., Suozzi said he will fight to make a soft border and implementation of the Good Friday Agreement requirements for any future negotiation.