The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has signaled bipartisan support for the Good Friday Agreement
By Irish Echo Staff
Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) have joined forces along with 13 of their Senate colleagues in unveiling a bipartisan resolution in support of the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, or the Belfast Agreement, and subsequent agreements and arrangements to support peace on the island of Ireland.
“The Good Friday Agreement was a historic accomplishment that established a framework for a sustainable peace,” said Chairman Menendez.
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“However, the work of the Agreement remains unfinished. Ahead of Saint Patrick’s Day, we are calling for renewed attention and action to implement the Agreement’s provisions, including the passage of a bill of rights and accountability for past injustices.
“This bipartisan resolution signals our support for the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, as well as subsequent agreements including the Stormont House Agreement and Northern Ireland Protocol. This should be a priority for those who support peace, accountability, reconciliation and prosperity for all who live in Northern Ireland.”
Stated Senator Collins: “The inclusive power sharing system established by the Good Friday Agreement was a landmark achievement that established a framework for peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
“Former Maine Senator George Mitchell was instrumental in the successful negotiation of this historic agreement that brought stability to the British Isles.
“Over the past two decades, political leaders in Northern Ireland, along with the Irish and British governments, have made enormous progress, though important issues remain unresolved. Our resolution encourages all parties to continue to work toward the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, as well as subsequent agreements that promote peace and stability on the island of Ireland.”
Introduced in advance of Saint Patrick’s Day, the bipartisan resolution calls for the protection of the peace forged under the Good Friday Agreement, urges continued attention and action to resolve injustices of past violence, reaffirms support for the right of all people on the island to self-determination, and encourages renewed efforts to preserve the rich language, literature, and arts of Northern Ireland.
The resolution, according to a release from the Foreign Relations Committee, also underscores the great value the United States places on its relationship with both the United Kingdom and Ireland in addition to the U.S.’ steadfast support for the peaceful resolution of any and all political challenges in Northern Ireland.
Joining Chairman Menendez and Senator Collins in introducing the resolution were Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).
Senator Schumer, in a separate release, stated: “I am proud to stand alongside a bipartisan group of senators to voice our ongoing and inveterate support of the Good Friday Agreement.
“The Good Friday Agreement is a towering achievement, and as I have said before, it planted the seeds of peace and a society based on mutual respect and equality, rather than one based on distrust and discrimination.
“As all parties face the challenges presented by Brexit, we must seek to ensure its full implementation, avoid any return to a hard border, and note that any future trade agreements with the UK must recognize and abide by the Good Friday principles. I will continue to vigorously oppose any policy that could harm or roll back the progress that has been made to bring peace to the people on the island of Ireland.”