Time for a new deal? Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement at 11pm

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Northern Ireland celebrates 25 years of peace, but police are attacked

Northern Ireland on Monday marked the 25th anniversary of its historic 1998 peace accords, but the fragility of the province’s truce was underlined as masked youths pelted police vehicles with petrol bombs amid sectarian unrest. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and US President Joe Biden will arrive on Tuesday to launch several days of high-profile commemorations. The territory has been reshaped since pro-British unionist and pro-Irish nationalist leaders reached an unlikely peace deal on April 10, 1998 — Easter Good Friday — following Marathon negotiations. But the province has recently become mired in political dysfunction and security concerns that threaten to overshadow that milestone. Republican march in Londonderry on the eve of Biden’s visit. “Our officers were attacked… with petrol bombs and other objects thrown at their vehicle while attending an unnotified Easter parade,” the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI) said. “At present no injuries were reported. We would like to appeal for calm,” the police added. Officials last week warned of “strong” reports that dissidents were planning attacks on officers in the city on Monday. London and Dublin largely ended three decades of devastating sectarian strife in Northern Ireland and intermittent terror attacks in mainland Britain. Known as “The Troubles”, the conflict killed more than 3,500 people. , against Catholic republicans who are calling for equal rights and reunification with the Republic of Ireland. A quarter of a century later, Northern Ireland is struggling to consolidate the gains of its hard-earned peace. Post-Brexit trade deals have resulted in political instability and dissident violence and Republicans are on the rise. “While it is time to reflect on the solid progress we have made together, we must also recommit to redoubling our efforts on the promise made in 1998 and the agreements that followed,” Sunak said in a statement marking the anniversary on Monday . “As we look forward, we will celebrate those who have made tough decisions, accepted compromises and shown leadership.” Sunak will attend a commemorative conference at Queen’s University in the capital, Belfast, and host a gala dinner to honor the anniversary, his Downing Street office said. Biden “will mark tremendous progress since the signing of the Belfast Accord/Good Friday,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters ahead of his visit. “She will underscore the readiness of the United States to support Northern Ireland’s vast economic potential for the benefit of all communities,” she added. The Irish-American president will then travel south Wednesday to Ireland, spending three days in his ancestral homeland. to celebrate the deep and historic ties” the country shares with the United States, the White House said. Biden’s visit will be closely scrutinized for any signs of pressure on Sunak to end the impasse in Ireland’s legislature North caused by loyalist allies in the Conservative Party – ‘Highs and lows’ – Next week, Northern Ireland will continue its commemorations of the peace deal with a three-day conference starting on 17 April, hosted by the former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Her husband, Bill Clinton, played a pivotal role in securing the 1998 Agreement as US President from 1993 to 2001. Upcoming events will celebrate Northern Ireland’s subsequent transformation, but l “Attention will undoubtedly be directed to its current problems. The troops are gone. However, the peace process is perhaps more precarious now than it has been at any time since.” The power-sharing institutions created by the deals have been paralyzed for more than a year by bitter post-Brexit trade disagreements. Britain and the European Union agreed in February to revise the accords, that new deal – the Windsor Framework – has yet to win backing from the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). He boycotted Northern Ireland’s devolved government for 14 months over the issue, paralyzing the assembly, and shows no sign of a return to power-sharing. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Sunday that Dublin, London and Belfast were “working to get institutions going over the next few months”. Meanwhile, the security situation has deteriorated, with Britain’s security services last month raising the province’s terrorist threat level at “severe”. jj/jwp/jj

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