Irish PM thanks Biden ahead of White House meeting

STORY: The leaders will also mark St. Patrick's Day with a luncheon on the hill and a celebration later in the day at the White House.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last month struck a deal with the European Union on post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, saying it would pave the way for a new chapter in London's relationship with the bloc.

The deal seeks to resolve issues raised by the Northern Ireland protocol, a complex agreement which set the trading rules for the British-ruled region that London agreed to before it left the EU but later said were unworkable.

The issue of Northern Ireland has been one of the most contentious related to Britain's 2020 departure from the European Union. A return to a hard border between the province and Ireland, an EU member, could have jeopardized the peace deal.

Biden, who often speaks with pride of his Irish roots, had welcomed the agreement reached last month between Britain and the EU, and described it as an "essential step" to ensuring that the peace from the Good Friday Agreement was preserved.

Biden is expected to visit Ireland later this year.