UK News

Biden to meet Sunak as pressure grows on PM over Northern Ireland protocol

Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak will meet face to face for the first time on Wednesday as US diplomats stepped up pressure to agree a deal on the Northern Ireland protocol by the anniversary next year.

The pair will meet at the G20 summit in Bali where both Ukraine and the protocol are expected to be on the agenda, as well as a potential bilateral gas deal.

Biden has signalled he will visit Northern Ireland on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement next spring. In a phone call between the leaders when Sunak took office, the White House said Biden brought up “the need to maintain momentum toward reaching a negotiated agreement”.

Last week the government said elections for the Northern Ireland Stormont assembly could be delayed until April to give talks between the UK and the EU on the controversial Brexit trade arrangements a chance.

The Northern Ireland secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said he would introduce legislation to delay the date he needs to call an election by six weeks, with a further six-week delay if needed.

The prime minister is also scheduled to have one to one meetings with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, India’s Narendra Modi and Australia’s Anthony Albanese.

Sunak will arrive in Indonesia on Monday evening for the summit, which has been overshadowed by the presence of Russia, though Vladimir Putin has pulled out.

Officials have said there is only a limited prospect for agreeing a communique between leaders because of Russia’s presence, even on issues such as inflation and energy which have been affected by the war in Ukraine.

Number 10 has said Sunak will use his first intervention at the G20 to address the war in Ukraine and to condemn Russia in Sergei Lavrov’s presence. The veteran Russian foreign minister staged a walkout at an earlier meeting of ministers.

The five-point plan that Sunak will lay out during the group discussions will also form part of the foundations for the autumn statement, Downing Street said.

“Addressing the biggest economic crisis in a decade will require a concerted effort by the world’s largest economies – these are not problems we can solve alone,” Sunak said before his departure to Indonesia. “At the G20, leaders need to step up to fix the weaknesses in the international economic system which Putin has exploited for years.”


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.