President Joe Biden urged Northern Irish political leaders to restore their powersharing government with the promise that scores of major U.S. corporations were ready to invest in the region as he marked the 25th anniversary of peace in Belfast.
Biden, who is fiercely proud of his Irish heritage, spent just over half a day in the UK region – where he met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – before leaving for the Irish Republic for two-and-a-half days of speeches and meetings with officials and distant relatives.
The brief Belfast stop was against the backdrop of the latest political stalemate in which the devolved powersharing government, a key part of the 1998 peace deal, has not met for more than a year due to a row about post-Brexit trade arrangements.
Today’s Belfast is the beating heart of Northern Ireland and is poised to drive unprecedented economic opportunity. There are scores of major American corporations wanting to come here wanting to invest.”
Biden said powersharing remained critical to the future of Northern Ireland and that an effective devolved government would “draw even greater opportunity in this region”.
So I hope the assembly and the executive will soon be restored. That’s a judgment for you to make, not me, but I hope it happens,” he told an audience that included the leaders of Northern Ireland’s five main political parties.