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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Biden to Meet Sunak as Pressure Mounts on PM over Northern Ireland Protocol

The two will meet at the G20 conference in Bali

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UNITED STATES: US President Joe Biden and UK PM Rishi Sunak will meet face to face for the first time on Wednesday as US diplomats put pressure to agree on a deal on the Northern Ireland protocol by the anniversary next year.

The two will meet at the G20 conference in Bali, where discussions over Ukraine, the protocol, and a prospective bilateral gas contract are all expected to be on the table.

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On the occasion of the Good Friday Agreement’s 25th anniversary in the spring of next year, Biden has indicated he will visit Northern Ireland. The White House stated that Biden brought up “the need to maintain momentum toward reaching a negotiated agreement” during a phone discussion between the leaders when Sunak became an office.

To give talks between the UK and the EU on the contentious Brexit trade agreements a chance, the government suggested last week that elections for the Northern Ireland Stormont assembly could be postponed until April.

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Chris Heaton-Harris, the secretary for Northern Ireland, announced that he would draft legislation to prolong the deadline for calling an election by six weeks, with the option of an additional six-week extension.

Additionally, the prime minister is expected to meet privately with the Saudi Arabian crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida, the president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, and the Australian prime minister, Anthony Albanese.

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The summit, which has been overshadowed by Russia’s attendance even though Vladimir Putin withdrew, will begin on Tuesday when Sunak arrives in Indonesia on Monday night.

Even on topics like inflation and energy, which the conflict in Ukraine has impacted, officials have stated that there is just a slim chance that leaders will agree on a statement due to Russia’s involvement.

According to Number 10, Sunak will address the conflict in Ukraine and denounce Russia in his first speech at the G20 in Sergei Lavrov’s presence. At a previous meeting of ministers, the seasoned Russian foreign minister staged an exit.

During the roundtable discussions, the prime minister will also outline a five-point plan for the world economy, which will also serve as the basis for the autumn statement, according to Downing Street.

Also Read: Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin to Attend G20 Summit in Bali This November 

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