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US intends to appoint Joe Kennedy as Northern Ireland envoy – POLITICO

US President Joe Biden to appoint former Congressman Joe Kennedy as special envoy to Northern Ireland.

The 42-year-old politician, from the Kennedy political dynasty, will fill the vacancy from January 2021, when Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney resigned.

It comes at a sensitive time for Northern Ireland, which has not had an executive since February and has found itself at the center of a standoff between the UK and the EU over Brexit trade deals.

Kennedy is the grandson of former United States Senator and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968. He represented Massachusetts in Congress between 2013 and 2021. He chose not to run for the United States House of Representatives. challenging Senator Ed Markey instead. for his seat in the United States Senate. But in a major blow to his political career, he lost the Democratic primary contest to Markey, paving the way for his exit from frontline politics.

Two officials told POLITICO that an announcement is imminent from the White House. Since January, new rules mean that all special envoy roles must be approved by the US Senate, a procedural requirement that could delay any nominations.

Negotiations continue between UK and EU officials on the Northern Ireland Protocol, the part of the Brexit deal that deals with trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Unionists, who support Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom, oppose the protocol which they say erects barriers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But the EU argues that the UK government has pledged to abide by the deal that is now set out in international law in previous negotiations, and that the protocol preserves Northern Ireland’s place in the single market for the EU.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly met European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič on Thursday for high-level talks in Brussels on the protocol, amid indications that a deal could be reached by February next year.

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