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British Foreign Secretary visits Washington embarrassingly



LONDON—When British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab arrives in Washington this week for a visit, he will be a special envoy with some extra luggage: his country is eager to reach a trade agreement with the United States, but his government has just proposed A bill would betray a landmark treaty signed with the European Union.

For the Trump administration, this may not matter. President Trump has withdrawn from his own international agreement and is deeply hostile to the European Union. His assistants will most likely welcome Mr. Raab, A loyal member of the Brexiteers band of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

However, if the White House changes hands after the November election, this could hurt Britain.

Former Vice President Joseph Biden (Joseph R. Biden Jr.) opposes Brexit and will reach a trade agreement with the United Kingdom lower priority than Trump. He is also a staunch defender of Ireland. If Mr. Johnson insists on the new legislation, it may trigger tensions, which will modify the treatment of the Northern Irish border.

Raber said in an interview in the Whitehall office on Monday: “Each government, no matter which party it represents, uses a different approach.” “We have the agility and sensitivity to respond.”

Mr. Raab defended this legislation-“If the United Kingdom cannot enter into a permanent trade arrangement with the European Union, it will give the United Kingdom the power to change the customs procedures in Northern Ireland”, which is “a preventive, defensive, and Proportionate response”.

But this aroused congressional Democrats, who worried that it might lead to the resurrection of the Irish hard border. This would threaten the Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. They warned that this would undermine a transatlantic trade agreement in Congress.

“What are they thinking?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said last week, referring to Johnson’s move to modify the withdrawal agreement. “Whatever it is, I hope they did not think of the US-UK bilateral trade agreement.”

In the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday, Mr. Raab will meet with Ms. Pelosi, the Massachusetts Democrat representative Richard E. Neal, who represents the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and an influential defender of Irish interests. )meeting. Mr. Neal said that he met with Raab a few months ago and he turned a blind eye to the latest changes in the government’s policy in Northern Ireland.

Neal said in a telephone interview: “They always seem to say,’No problem, we will never disturb the Good Friday Agreement.” “Then they took a stand that interfered with the Good Friday Agreement.”

Raab believes that, in fact, it is the European Union that puts peace in Northern Ireland at risk by insisting on the border between Northern Ireland and the European Single Market. In order to avoid the border dividing the island of Ireland in two, London and Brussels agreed to roam the border over the Irish sea.

Mr. Johnson said, but if there is no permanent trade agreement, the EU can use the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol to dissolve the United Kingdom. Mr. Raab complained that the European Union tried to impose “different conditions” on the UK compared to countries like the UK or Canada or South Korea.

He said: “Any self-respecting democracy, as long as Britain is large, it will be curbed.”

But this is not how many British leaders saw it.

Five former prime ministers (three of them are Conservatives) have warned that the repurchase agreement will damage Britain’s moral status. Someone asked, when Britain is willing to violate a legal treaty with the European Union, how can Britain condemn China for violating the agreement reached with Britain in Hong Kong?

Mr. Raab rejected the comparison.

“I think there is no moral equivalent between what we saw in Hong Kong about the joint declaration and what we saw about the preventive measures we took, and there is no equivalent even in international law.” Re-study. “Mr. Raab, who has been trained as an international lawyer, said.

Even if Britain eased China, the main source of friction with the Trump administration, tensions in Northern Ireland have come. Johnson agreed with Donald Trump’s request that the UK require Chinese telecom giant Huawei to access its 5G network. Britain’s criticism of China’s suppression of Hong Kong has won praise from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

However, Mr. Raab suggested that Britain seek a middle ground between the Trump administration’s hawkish stance on China and the EU’s more conciliatory approach. He said that Britain is still seeking cooperation with Beijing on issues such as climate change.

He said: “We don’t think this is a determined conclusion, and we don’t want it to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, because we are in a certain cold war stalemate.”

When he was young, Mr. Raab worked as a volunteer on a collective farm in Israel and later worked in the West Bank. He said that he was encouraged by Israel’s announcement that it would resume normal relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. He said that the Palestinians need to seize the opportunity to restart dialogue with Israel.

Raab said: “For them, this is a huge opportunity because the annexation has been cancelled in the foreseeable future.”

One issue where Biden’s presidency might make life in Britain easier is Iran. It recently refused to support the Trump administration’s lonely restoration of UN sanctions against Iranians. “We are looking for a resolution that can be passed in the market,” Mr. Raab said softly.

Predictably, he avoided American politics in the interview.

He said that Britain’s goal is to “increase the value of the United States”, referring to a summit on the coronavirus vaccine organized at the UN General Assembly and a multi-billion dollar aid project to alleviate potential famine in the war. Yemen

Raab said: “We are not only injecting water under the bridge with the United States.” “This is a deep friendship.”


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