White House: Undermining Northern Ireland agreement will not help U.S.-UK trade talks

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FILE PHOTO: The border between Northern Ireland and Ireland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Wednesday any efforts to undermine the Northern Ireland agreement would not create a conducive environment for trade talks between the United States and the United Kingdom.

As a member of parliament, new British Prime Minister Liz Truss introduced legislation to undo the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was part of Britain's withdrawal agreement from the European Union. It prioritized protecting the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, or Belfast Agreement, for peace in the British-run region.

"There is a no formal linkage on trade talks between the U.S. 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," Jean-Pierre said.

On Tuesday, the White House said U.S. President Joe Biden and Truss "discussed their shared commitment to protecting the gains of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and the importance of reaching a negotiated agreement with the European Union on the Northern Ireland Protocol."

Biden, who often speaks with pride of his Irish roots, has been insistent that Britain do nothing that could endanger a quarter century of peace in Northern Ireland.

The two leaders could meet as soon as the U.N. General Assembly later in September.

Truss won a leadership race for the governing Conservative Party on Monday and took over from Boris Johnson as prime minister on Tuesday, as Britain faces its most daunting set of challenges in decades.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Nandita Bose in WashingtonEditing by Chris Reese and Matthew Lewis)