Pelosi warns UK not to imperil N Ireland peace with Brexit

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, speaks at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, in London, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON — House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Britain on Friday that there will be no U.S.-U.K. trade deal unless the British government solves post-Brexit disagreements with the European Union that risk destabilizing Northern Ireland’s peace.

Britain and the EU are at odds over trade arrangements that have imposed checks on goods coming to Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K. They were agreed by both sides in their divorce deal, to keep an open land border between the north and EU member Ireland — a key pillar of Northern Ireland’s peace process.

Britain says the new checks are onerous and wants to rewrite the agreement, but the EU says it will not renegotiate.

The United States, which played a key role in securing Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday peace accord, has cautioned Britain against doing anything to undermine the peace settlement.

Pelosi, who is visiting the U.K., met Prime Minister Boris Johnson at his 10 Downing St. residence on Thursday. Johnson’s office said the prime minister “outlined the U.K.’s concerns with the way the (Northern Ireland) Protocol is being implemented and the impact it is having on the people of Northern Ireland.”

Pelosi told an audience at the Chatham House think-tank that a trans-Atlantic trade deal was “very unlikely” if the Good Friday Accord was destroyed. She said “this is not a threat, it’s a prediction.”

Pelosi welcomed the fact that Britain and the EU have agreed to keep talking in an attempt to resolve their differences.

“I’m so glad that more time has been given for the negotiations and the discussion, because they have to reach an agreement,” she said.