A quarter century after the signing of a peace agreement that essentially ended violence in Northern Ireland, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that efforts must be redoubled to restore the power-sharing government central to the agreement.
The Good Friday Agreement, which was signed in Belfast on April 10, 1998, is regarded as one of the most significant peace agreements of the late 20th century. It aimed to end three decades of sectarian conflict that claimed the lives of more than 3,600 people.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the Good Friday power-sharing government must be restored.
As a result of Britain’s exit from the European Union and other political crises, however, this week’s commemorations have been overshadowed.
Joe Biden will travel to Northern Ireland on Tuesday to attend events commemorating the 25th anniversary of the agreement, a reflection of the United States’ role in negotiating the accord.
“This agreement is the result of a partnership between the British and Irish administrations, and as this week’s visit by Vice President Joe Biden will demonstrate, it continues to enjoy enormous international support from our closest allies,” Sunak said in a Monday statement.
The April 10, 1998, Belfast agreement intended to end a war that killed over 3,600 people.
“Most significantly, however, it is founded on compromise in Northern Ireland itself. As we turn to the future, we will honor those who made challenging decisions, accepted compromises, and demonstrated leadership – demonstrating courage, tenacity, and political imagination.”
The Democratic Unionist Party, the largest pro-British party, has boycotted the power-sharing devolved government central to the peace agreement for more than a year out of anger over post-Brexit trade regulations that treated Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the United Kingdom.
Post-Brexit tensions have returned.
The British intelligence agency MI5 raised the threat level in Northern Ireland from domestic terrorism to “severe” last month, indicating that an attack is highly probable.
Sunday, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar pledged to intensify efforts with Sunak to break the province’s political impasse. Sunk stated that it was time to honor those who negotiated the 1998 agreement and consider the progress made since then, but also to redouble efforts.
“We’re prepared to work with our colleagues in the Irish administration and the local parties to get the institutions back up and running as quickly as possible,” he said. There is labor to complete.