Work to Be Done, PM Sunak Says 25 Years After N.Irish Peace Deal
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LONDON (Reuters), - Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister, stated that efforts must be intensified in order to restore the power-sharing government which was central to the agreement. It has been a quarter century since the signing a peace treaty that largely ended violence within Northern Ireland.
The Good Friday Agreement was signed in Belfast on April 10, 1998. It aims to end the three decades of sectarian violence that claimed the lives of more than 3,600 people.
However, peace has been put under pressure after Britain's departure from the European Union. Other political crises have overshadowed these week's commemorations.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden of the United States will fly to Northern Ireland to attend events commemorating the 25th anniversary. This is a reflection on the important role that the United States played in brokering this agreement.
Sunak stated Monday that the agreement was the result of partnership between the British-Irish governments. He also noted that President Biden's visit to Ireland this week will show that it continues to receive huge international support from our closest allies.
It is based on Northern Ireland's compromise. We will be celebrating those who made difficult decisions, accepted compromises, and displayed leadership as we look ahead - bravery, perseverance and political imagination.
The Democratic Unionist Party, the largest pro British party, protested against post-Brexit trade laws that treated Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the United Kingdom. It has been boycotting the power-sharing government, which is central to the peace agreement, for over a year.
The threat level of domestic terrorist acts in Northern Ireland was raised to "severe" by Britain's MI5 intelligence agency last month. This means that an attack is highly probable.
Leo Varadkar, the Irish Prime Minister, pledged on Sunday to work with Sunak to end the political impasse in the province. Sunk stated that it was a time for people to celebrate those who have secured the 1998 agreement and to reflect on the achievements made. He also called for a redoubled effort.
He said that he was ready to work with his partners in the Irish government as well as the local parties to get the institutions back to normal as soon as possible. There is still much to do.