Extreme Protestants withdraw from the Good Friday Agreement

Paramilitary groups are protesting the Brexit deal

New headache for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the intention of pro-British Protestant paramilitaries in Northern Ireland to withdraw their support for the 1998 peace agreement for the region amid concerns over the Brexit deal.

According to the Belfast Telegraph on Thursday, representatives of the hardline organizations of the Northern Ireland Crown told Mr Johnson that they were temporarily suspending their obligation to abide by the so-called Good Friday agreement (from the day it was signed).

The reason is no other than the agreement reached between London and Brussels on the exemption of the Northern Ireland-Ireland border, as provided for in the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, from the regulations on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. .

Opposition to a letter sent to the prime minister’s office by representatives of illegal Protestant organizations, who do not want any change in the status of what the British call Ulster from the rest of the UK, fearing that this could hurt trade between Great Britain and the United Kingdom. and Northern Ireland, but also to set a precedent in favor of nationalist Catholics.

However, the paramilitary groups have stated in their letter that they have no intention of taking any armed action at this time – they are simply opposed to the Northern Ireland Protocol at the political level. However, this does not preclude any violent incidents by extremists who will be encouraged by the withdrawal of support for the Agreement.

The 1998 agreement, also known as the Belfast Agreement, put an end to three decades of armed conflict in Northern Ireland and has been largely respected since then.

It is noted that during his election campaign, the new US President Joe Biden had warned London to fully respect the Good Friday Agreement upon its withdrawal from the EU, otherwise the US will refuse to conclude a separate bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom. .

Source: Reuters