Biden issues extraordinary rebuke to Boris Johnson for 'inflaming' tensions in Ireland and Europe over Brexit
- US President Joe Biden has issued an extraordinary rebuke to Boris Johnson after arriving in the UK for the G7 summit.
- The US' most senior diplomat in Britain accused the UK government of risking the Northern Ireland peace process over Brexit.
- Tensions between the UK and EU have increased dramatically in recent months in a post-Brexit dispute over Northern Ireland.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
US President Joe Biden has issued an extraordinary rebuke to Boris Johnson after arriving in the UK for the G7 summit, accusing the UK government of risking the Northern Ireland peace process over Brexit.
In a rare diplomatic move, Biden ordered America's most senior diplomat in the country, Yael Lempert, to rebuke the UK's Brexit Minister, Lord Frost, for "inflaming" tensions in Ireland and Europe, the Times of London reported.
Lempert read out a so-called demarche - a formal diplomatic memo which is normally only exchanged between nation-states in dispute with each other- to Frost amid growing tensions in Europe over Britain's reluctance to implement the terms of its Brexit deal with the EU.
UK government minutes of the meeting between Lempert and Frost recount that the US "strongly urged" the UK to make "compromises" with the EU, adding that the US was "increasingly concerned" by Britain's actions, the Times reported.
It said that "Lempert said the US was increasingly concerned about the stalemate on implementing the protocol. This was undermining the trust of our two main allies. The US strongly urged the UK to achieve a negotiated settlement."
It added: "Lempert implied that the UK had been inflaming the rhetoric, by asking if we would keep it 'cool'."
Tensions between the UK and EU have increased dramatically in recent months.
The United Kingdom stopped following the EU's rules and regulations in January following its departure from the bloc, but there remain significant disagreements between the two sides over the Northern Ireland protocol, a set of measures designed to avoid the emergence of a hard border on the island of Ireland.
The agreement, which governs border controls and customs checks on goods passing between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, provided a grace period until April 1.
During that period, checks were not implemented in order to give businesses time to prepare for the changes. But the UK unilaterally decided to extend the grace period to October 1, prompting the EU to launch legal action against the UK for what it said was a breach of the protocol.
Boris Johnson insisted this week that a solution to the impasse was "easily doable," but Brexit minister David Frost said discussions with EU counterparts had ended with "no breakthroughs and no breakdowns."
European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic said the EU's patience with the UK was wearing "very, very thin" and said the bloc would act "firmly" if the UK took any further unilateral actions.
"If the UK were to take further unilateral action in the coming weeks the EU will not be shy in acting swiftly, firmly and resolutely to ensure the UK abides by its international obligations," he said, reported Sky News.
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