US House of Representatives votes in favour of resolution reaffirming support for the Good Friday Agreement
"We cannot - and let's be clear - we will not stand idly by and watch the Good Friday Agreement weakened, or destroyed."
The US House of Representatives has voted in favour of a resolution reaffirming support for the Good Friday Agreement.
The bill, which calls for strict adherence to the Good Friday Agreement during Brexit negotiations, was passed by unanimous voice vote following a debate in Capitol Hill.
The resolution – which was brought to the House floor by New York Democrat Tom Suozzi and co-sponsored by Republican Peter King — urges the UK and the EU to ensure that “any exit from the European Union by the United Kingdom supports continued peace on the island of Ireland and the principles, objectives, and commitments of the Good Friday Agreement”.
The resolution strongly opposes the reintroduction of a hard border in Ireland. The original bill was unanimously passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee in October.
As for the resolution, it states that the House “will insist that any new or amended trade agreements and other bilateral agreements between the Government of the United States and the Government of the United Kingdom include conditions requiring obligations under the Good Friday Agreement to be met”.
Congressman Brendan Boyle said: "The Good Friday Agreement was just the start of the creation of peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland, not the end. Brokered by the United States, this agreement was one of our nation's greatest foreign policy achievements of the 20th century. This ongoing process requires our continued engagement. Especially now as Brexit becomes a reality. We cannot - and let's be clear - we will not stand idly by and watch the Good Friday Agreement weakened, or destroyed."
Last month, former US vice-president Joe Biden voiced his support for protecting the Good Friday Agreement and avoiding a return to a hard border after Brexit.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the US House of Representatives, has also been a firm champion of protecting the Good Friday Agreement in the environment of Brexit.
She previously said: "Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Good Friday Agreement, including the seamless border between the Irish republic and Northern Ireland, especially now, as the first generation born into the hope of Good Friday 21 years ago comes into adulthood. We cannot go back.
"If Brexit undermines the Good Friday accord, there will be no chance of a U.S. - U.K. trade agreement passing the Congress."
Here's Congressman Boyle's speech on the matter.
"We will not stand by idly and watch the Good Friday Agreement weakened, or destroyed" - powerful message from Rep. Brendan Boyle in the US Congress 👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/NAM7MNcKna
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) December 4, 2019