Biden says he 'strongly supports' Windsor Framework at St Patrick's Day meeting

US President Joe Biden has said he “very strongly supports” the Windsor Framework post-Brexit deal as he hosted the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the White House.

biden says he 'strongly supports' windsor framework at st patrick's day meeting

Joe Biden shakes hands with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar

President Biden used the opportunity of the annual St Patrick’s Day visit to express hope of a return to devolved government at Stormont, and the acceptance of the new deal by all parties.

“Taoiseach we both agree that the recently announced Windsor Framework is an important step,” he said.

“We had a long discussion with the prime minister of Great Britain about that a week ago in California. That’s going to preserve and strengthen the Good Friday Agreement.”

“In the past few weeks I’ve shared my support for the framework with the European Commission president as well, president Ursula von der Leyen and the prime minister says he’s going to continue to push,” the president said.

biden says he 'strongly supports' windsor framework at st patrick's day meeting

Irish singer Niall Horan performs at the White House

The president also spoke about the upcoming 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, and said that “it’s incumbent on all of us to continue to foster that peace and continue to find common cause so that our work may continue to bear fruit for generations to come”.

Mr Varadkar highlighted the potential he saw in the new Windsor Framework struck by the EU and UK.

“I believe there are now incredible opportunities for economic development in Northern Ireland, especially with the potential of the Windsor Framework recently agreed with the European Commission and the UK Government,” he said.

“Our task now is to complete that mission to help the people of Northern Ireland to build a more peaceful and more prosperous future together.”

The Irish leader presented President Biden with the traditional bowl of shamrock, at a ceremony in the White House’s East Room, which was attended by the leaders of Northern Ireland’s five main parties, and saw a performance by One Direction star Niall Horan.

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The president also singled out his distant cousin, former Irish rugby player Rob Kearney, and said “we all know who we’re rooting for in the Grand Slam” – ahead of Ireland’s clash with England on Saturday.

Earlier, Mr Varadkar had a breakfast meeting with the vice-president Kamala Harris, who described the Windsor Framework as an “essential step” for peace and progress in Northern Ireland.

Today’s events were the culmination of the traditional visit by the Irish leader to the American capital in the days leading up to St Patrick’s Day.

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