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The US delegation led by MP Richard Neal has been urged to use its influence to help resolve issues with post-Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland.

Mr Neal led his delegation in meetings with all Stormont parties on Thursday, amid an impasse over returning to power-sharing due to the DUP’s opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol .

Coalition Party Deputy Leader Stephen Farry said his party had urged a delegation from the US Congress to help fix problems with the protocol.

Speaking after the meeting, he said it was an honor to meet the delegation and he described a “very helpful engagement around protocol-related issues”.

UUP Leader Doug Beattie addresses the media after a meeting with the US delegation (Brian Lawless/PA) / PA wire

“We have two main requirements for the delegation,” Mr. Farry said. The first is that they continue to raise their grave concerns with the UK Government regarding the unilateral action in relation to this forthcoming legislation.

“There are, of course, broader implications for international law but for Northern Ireland this really makes the task of finding genuine, lasting and sustainable solutions a little more difficult. , so it’s important that they continue to deliver that message.

“The second aspect is that we asked them to ask the European Union to be as flexible as possible in trying to find a solution.

“It is clear that we are all extremely disappointed in the approach the UK Government is taking, their lack of wisdom on the issues and how they are digging a deeper hole on the Project. this legislation, but we need to see if lasting solutions have been found, and while difficult, challenging and increasingly becoming so, nevertheless we must find those solutions and the European Union also need to be a partner in that regard.

“So we asked them, as representatives of the United States, to encourage the European Union to go that extra mile and try to figure out the results.”

Ulster Union Leader Doug Beattie stated that the US delegation now understands unionists’ concerns about the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Speaking after meeting with the delegation, Mr. Beattie said he had made their concerns clear to the group of US politicians.

Mr Beattie added: “They clearly understand the group’s position regarding the Belfast Agreement and how our East-West, North-South relations are being damaged and they can be easily repaired. how.

They understand, they understand the problems Brexit has created in our politics

“We made it clear that if they didn’t come out of the meeting (meeting) to understand the members’ views, they wouldn’t listen.

“I understand that they now understand the problems that are being raised, what is affecting the unionists, what is the concern of the unionists and it is not being produced – this is long term. – and we’ve been saying this since the protocol first appeared. .

“I think they got it by now. But we’ll know if they get it if they come out and say “we get it now,” because we took that stance pretty heavily on them. “

The SDLP on Thursday defended Mr. Neal, some of whose comments and interventions were criticized by the DUP.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said: “Richie Neal is focused on the benefits of this peace process, he also has the benefits of the Good Friday Agreement. He wants to see these organizations up and running again.”

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood Says Richard Neal Has Peace Process’s Best Interests (Brian Lawless/PA) / PA wire

“They get it, they get the problems that Brexit has created in our politics.

“They understand that we have to implement international agreements, like WA, including the protocol, despite the fact that there are flexibilities that can be found to make everyone comfortable.

“But none of this is going to be done, as they realize, by leaving these institutions, by not participating in Government, by not rolling up your sleeves and getting the job done.”

“The UK government has announced a very substantial package of funds to deal with the current cost of living crisis.

“A lot of that money will go to Northern Ireland, but it won’t be spendable, it won’t go into people’s pockets if the DUP doesn’t show up next Monday and appoint a Spokesperson and then appoint a Spokesperson. appointed a First Deputy Minister. ”

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