The Daily Telegraph

Protocol target talk as Truss meets Biden

- By Daniel Martin DEPUTY POLITICAL EDITOR in New York

LIZ TRUSS held her first official meeting with Joe Biden last night as it emerged that Britain has set a sixmonth deadline to solve the impasse around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Success could also pave the way for a major visit by Mr Biden next April, as he is believed to want to take part in events celebratin­g the 25th anniversar­y of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Northern Ireland Executive is currently suspended after the Democratic Unionist Party withdrew from Stormont as a result of its objections to the Protocol.

British officials believe they have until the silver anniversar­y of the Good Friday Agreement, which was signed on 10 April 1998, to solve the issue.

It comes as it emerged that Sir Tony Blair has been helping the Government to put its case to senior figures in the US.

The Protocol aims to avoid the imposition of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

But it also imposes a trade border in the Irish Sea, with Northern Ireland seen as part of the EU single market.

Britain has threatened to withdraw from the Protocol if its concerns are not addressed.

Speaking before the meeting, Mr Biden told Ms Truss: “We are both committed to protecting the Good Friday Agreement of Northern Ireland. And I’m looking forward to hearing what’s on your mind.”

Mr Biden congratula­ted Ms Truss on becoming Prime Minister, adding: “I look forward to working with you. You’re our closest ally in the world.”

The agreement is seen in the United States as a significan­t foreign policy success.

Any presidenti­al trip would not technicall­y be a state visit, because Charles III will not have been crowned by then. But the visit would be an opportunit­y for the King to meet Mr Biden.

The meeting in New York between Ms Truss and Mr Biden lasted 75 minutes – 15 minutes longer than scheduled. The tone was said to be “very warm”, with the discussion on the Protocol only a small part of it.

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