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UPDATE – UK’s Boris Johnson congratulates Joe Biden

_: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden on his election win in a phone call on Tuesday.

“I just spoke to @JoeBiden to congratulate him on his election,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I look forward to strengthening the partnership between our countries and to working with him on our shared priorities – from tackling climate change, to promoting democracy and building back better from the pandemic.”

Johnson’s outreach came amid discussions in the UK on the legislation of the Internal Market Bill, which suffered a major defeat in the House of Lords in an amendment vote last night.

The bill includes articles that are contradictory to the EU Withdrawal Agreement, an international pact ratified by the parliaments of the UK and the EU.

A statement from Downing Street said the two politicians talked “about the importance of implementing Brexit in such a way that upholds the Good Friday Agreement, and the Prime Minister assured the President-elect that would be the case.”

Many politicians in the UK also argue that the bill would jeopardize the 1998 Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, if the option of a land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland returns to the agenda in case the UK does not honor the Brexit deal signed with the EU.

Back in September, Biden said: “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit.”

“Any trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period,” he said on Twitter.

Johnson’s government, which had a close relationship with the outgoing Trump administration, had been hoping to sign a free trade agreement with the US after the Brexit transition period finishes at the end of 2020.

The British government is expected to reinstate the controversial clauses, which were objected to by the upper house of Parliament, when the bill returns to the House of Commons in December.

The British government has publicly admitted that the bill will break international law.

It will unilaterally override key aspects of the UK’s withdrawal agreement with the EU, specifically the Northern Ireland protocol. The government argues this is necessary to ensure unrestricted access for goods from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK.

However, the deal Johnson now seeks to unilaterally alter is the one he himself negotiated and campaigned on the basis of during the last general election in 2019.

The EU previously warned the UK of legal action if problematic clauses are not removed from the bill.

The British government has been negotiating with various countries for post-Brexit trade deals to curb financial losses that may be brought about by its departure from the European bloc.

The UK left the EU at the end of January, but remains bound to the bloc for the duration of a transition period that ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

Source: Anadolu Agency