US President Joe Biden. Photo/REUTERS
WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden claims the decision by Britain’s main domestic security service, MI5, to raise the terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland will not prevent him from visiting the region.
“NO. They can’t arrest me,” Biden said Tuesday (28/3/2023) when asked if MI5’s move would affect his plans to travel to Northern Ireland next month.
The White House has not officially confirmed the US leader’s planned trip to Belfast on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which was signed on April 10, 1998.
However, Biden is reportedly expected to visit Northern Ireland for the event along with former President Bill Clinton who brokered the landmark deal.
The Good Friday agreement saw nationalists and unions in Northern Ireland agree to share power after three decades of violence, with armed paramilitary groups each laying down their arms in exchange for the release of political prisoners.
Since then, the country has witnessed only sporadic attacks on security forces, by splinter groups from the Irish Republican Army (IRA) opposed to the deal.
On Tuesday, MI5 announced an increase in the terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland from “substantial” to “severe”.
UK Northern Ireland Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said, “In recent months, we have seen an increasing level of activity related to Northern Ireland-related terrorism, targeting police officers who serve their communities and also putting the lives of children and other members of the public at risk. ”
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