(StraightNews.org) — President Biden is to visit Northern Ireland to commemorate the Good Friday agreement that brought peace to the region. He was speaking at a press conference in California alongside UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak when he said he planned to visit both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic later in the year. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the peace deal that was brokered with the help of then-US President Bill Clinton.
Mr. Sunak said, “I look forward to our conversations and also importantly, to invite you to Northern Ireland, which hopefully you will be able to do and so we can commemorate the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement. I know it’s something very special and personal to you. we’d love to have you over.” The President responded saying, “Twenty-five years? It seems like yesterday.”
The Good Friday Agreement was signed in April 1998 and brought three decades of conflict in Ireland to an end. The agreement created a new government for the region in which representatives from both sides of the conflict would be included. The region’s police force, which had been accused of anti-Catholic bias, was disbanded and a new service was created that included both Catholics and Protestants.
Following years of relative stability, the new Northern Ireland Assembly collapsed in 2017 and has yet to be restored.
Violence erupted in the province in the 1960s between Republicans, who wished to break away from the United Kingdom, and Unionists, who wished to remain. Almost 3,500 people were killed in three decades of fighting. The bulk of the violence took place within Northern Ireland, but some carried over into the UK mainland and the Irish Republic. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) was responsible for most of the killing and was condemned worldwide for bombings that ended the lives of 100s of civilians across the region. In 1994, the group announced a complete ceasefire that enabled peace talks to take place.
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