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UK minister to meet with U.S. lawmakers on restoration of Northern Ireland government

UK minister to meet with U.S. lawmakers on restoration of Northern Ireland government

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s minister for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton-Harris, will travel to Washington to discuss the restoration of the province’s devolved government with U.S. lawmakers and market its economic potential, his department said on Tuesday.

Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom and shares a border with Ireland, on Saturday appointed its first Irish nationalist leader in a historic milestone, reinstating its government after a two-year deadlock over post-Brexit trade frictions.

“With the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly restored and working for the people of Northern Ireland, I am pleased to be updating our U.S. stakeholders, whose steadfast support has been invaluable, at this important moment for Northern Ireland,” Heaton-Harris said.

Heaton-Harris is due to meet with representatives from the U.S. State Department, the U.S. National Security Council, and businesses. He will use the visit to “champion” Northern Ireland’s economic potential as a place to trade, invest, visit and study, the statement added.

The U.S. has played an important role in the recent history of the British-ruled province, brokering a 1998 peace deal that helped draw a line under three decades of political and sectarian violence known as the Troubles.

President Joe Biden has often expressed pride in his ancestral ties to Ireland. On a visit last year he urged Northern Irish political leaders to restore the government, with the promise of significant U.S. investment.

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The power-sharing government in Northern Ireland formed a key part of the 1998 deal.

“The UK Government remains absolutely committed to addressing the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland,” Heaton-Harris said.

To that end, he is set to discuss progress in the implementation of a contentious new law that gives conditional amnesties to former soldiers and militants. Ireland launched a legal challenge against the law last month.


(Reporting by Muvija M, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)


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