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President Joe Biden’s Visit to Begin in Belfast on 11 April

US President Joe Biden will begin a five-day visit to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in Belfast on 11 April, it is understood.

Irish-broadcaster RTÉ reports Mr Biden will travel to Dublin the following day before leaving Ireland on 15 April.

During the visit Mr Biden is expected to meet Irish President Michael D Higgins.

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar, is also set to host a reception at Farmleigh House in Dublin.

During their St Patrick’s Day meeting in Washington DC, Mr Varadkar told the president his trip to the island of Ireland would be a visit like no other and that he would “roll out the red carpet”.

Following a meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in March, Mr Biden said he intended to visit both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as part of the Good Friday Agreement 25th anniversary commemorations.

President Biden has been a vocal supporter of the peace deal signed on 10 April 1998, which brought an end to the worst of the violence after three decades of conflict in Northern Ireland.

During his time in Ireland, Mr Biden is also expected to visit counties Louth and Mayo, where his ancestors hail from.

In 2016, he visited the area during his time as Vice President.

Full details of the president’s visit are yet to be confirmed, but the White House said the increased terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland would not affect the plans.

On Tuesday Mr Biden told reporters “they can’t keep me out”.

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What is the Good Friday Agreement?

Also known as the Belfast Agreement, it was a political deal designed to bring an end to 30 years of violent conflict known as the Troubles.

Signed on 10 April 1998 and approved by public votes in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it is based on the idea of co-operation between communities.

It helped to set up a new government for Northern Ireland, representing both nationalists and unionists.

The 25th anniversary of the deal will fall on 10 April 2023, which will be Easter Monday.

Read more: What is the Good Friday Agreement?

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What are NI’s plans for the 25th anniversary?

More details of Mr Biden’s visit are expected in the coming days.

Former US President Bill Clinton, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are among those expected to visit Northern Ireland for commemorative events.

Both Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University are hosting events to mark the anniversary.

Large, silent video portraits of the 14 politicians who negotiated the peace deal will be displayed at UU’s Belfast campus from 15 to 20 April.

The university is also launching a new leadership programme, a tourism summit and an education project based on journalist Lyra McKee’s legacy.

She was shot dead by the New IRA while observing rioting in Londonderry in 2019.

Declan Harvey and Tara Mills explore the text of the Good Friday Agreement, scrutinising the deal’s wording and hearing from some of the people who helped get it across the line.

Source : BBC

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