White House Warns Truss over Efforts to ‘Undo’ Northern Ireland Protocol

The White House sent a message to the to the United Kingdom’s new prime minister Liz Truss on her second day in office, warning against ‘efforts to undo the Northern Ireland protocol.’

The warning came from the lectern in the White House briefing room. Spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about new British prime minister’s first phone call with President Joe Biden, and whether a deal between the US and the UK for trade was discussed.

While the Northern Ireland protocol was not directly mentioned in the question, Jean-Pierre brought it up, as it is extremely relevant to any potential trade deal.

‘There’s no formal linkage on trade talks between the US and the UK and the Northern Ireland protocol, as we have said, but efforts to undo the Northern Ireland protocol would not create a conducive environment, and that’s basically where we are in the dialogue,’ she said.

The official White House line on the British threats to the Northern Protocol is that it is ‘not conducive to a trade deal.’

Truss is spearheading the British threats to pass legislation negating part of the Northern Ireland protocol, which is the UK’s deal with the European Union on how to square Brexit with an open border between the two Irelands established by the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.

The United States helped to broker that agreement in 1998, and is adamant that any move might jeopardize it.

Some of Truss’s stances are welcomed in Washington, including her determined support for Ukraine. But her position on the protocol and on Brexit is seen as a major irritation in bilateral relations.

The White House was surprised when Truss announced in May, while she was the foreign secretary, that the UK government would proceed with legislation that would rewrite parts of the protocol. This is widely considered to be a breach of international law.

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