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Biden says terrorists won’t stop him from visiting Northern Ireland as threat level raised to ‘SERIOUS’

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President Joe Biden said on Tuesday nothing would stop him from visiting Northern Ireland after the terror threat level in the region was raised to “severe” less than two weeks before the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

although Biden’s trip is yet to be confirmed by the White House, DailyMail.com revealed he is expected to visit Belfast and Dublin next month.

On Tuesday, Great Britain The MI5 security agency raised its risk rating from ‘substantial’ after police were targeted by politically motivated groups.

That doesn’t matter to President Biden, who has been talking enthusiastically about his plans to visit the island of his ancestors for months.

“They can’t keep me out of it,” he told DailyMail.com as he spoke to reporters under the wing of Air Force One before returning from a day trip to North Carolina.

However, the new assessment will cast a shadow over plans to welcome VIPs to Belfast next month to celebrate a deal that helped end decades of violence.

President Joe Biden said a higher terror alert level in Northern Ireland would make little difference to plans for a visit. “They can’t keep me out,” he said

Biden is among US dignitaries expected in Northern Ireland next month to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement that ended decades of violence

Biden is among US dignitaries expected in Northern Ireland next month to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement that ended decades of violence

Biden is among US dignitaries expected in Northern Ireland next month to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement that ended decades of violence

Former President Bill Clinton, who was in power at the time, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among the dignitaries flying across the Atlantic.

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris revealed the shift in a statement to British MPs earlier on Tuesday.

Sectarian tensions have been rising for some time, with the most high-profile incident being the attempted murder of Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell last month in Omagh.

US officials downplayed the potential impact on travel plans.

“No, it has no possible implications for future travel,” White House spokeswoman Olivia Dalton told reporters aboard Air Force One.

“I think as some of you may know, according to UK authorities, this announcement has returned Northern Ireland to the threat level it has been at for the past 12 years, reversing a downgrade that took place last year.”

Still, the situation threatened to snowball against the backdrop of a row over post-Brexit rules. The pro-British Democratic Unionist Party is refusing to participate in power-sharing in protest against import rules – and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s new Windsor Framework package has so far failed to bring them back to Stormont.

Terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland has been raised from 'severe' to 'substantial', meaning an attack is deemed highly likely, according to an MI5 assessment

Terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland has been raised from 'severe' to 'substantial', meaning an attack is deemed highly likely, according to an MI5 assessment

Terrorism threat level in Northern Ireland has been raised from ‘severe’ to ‘substantial’, meaning an attack is deemed highly likely, according to an MI5 assessment

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris made the threat-level announcement

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris made the threat-level announcement

Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris made the threat-level announcement

Biden’s visit to NI will “promote peace,” says Tony Blair

Joe Biden’s visit to Northern Ireland will “promote peace,” Tony Blair said.

The former prime minister downplayed concerns that the US president’s proud Irish heritage could prevent him from being seen as an honest broker.

In an interview with Britain’s ITV television station ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement he helped broker, Blair said people were ‘right’ to criticize the way one party could bring power-sharing to a halt .

But he warned that a review of the pact can only work if all parties agree on what needs to be done.

Blair said he hopes the DUP will eventually get on board with Rishi Sunak’s new Windsor Framework that reworks the post-Brexit protocol.

The Good Friday Agreement has the ability to be revised. It is one of the provisions in the agreement,” he said.

‘The problem is that if you want to change existing arrangements, it’s very difficult if you don’t get all the main parts.

‘People are absolutely right when they say, why should one partner (have) a veto over the whole system.

“Ultimately, there’s a good reason to review it. But you only get a successful review if everyone participates.’

Asked about Biden previously comparing the plight of Irish Catholics among the British to Israelis’ treatment of Palestinians, Blair said, “You know, I’ve known Joe Biden for a very, very long time. And he has a strong Irish heritage, which he is very proud of.

“But I would be extremely surprised if President Biden comes to Northern Ireland and does anything other than advance the process.”

The threat level to the rest of the UK remains at ‘substantial’, meaning an attack is considered ‘likely’.

Northern Ireland’s level was lowered to substantial a year ago – the first time since 2010.

Biden was invited to Northern Ireland by Sunak earlier this month.

“I know it’s something very special and personal to you. We would like to have you,” the prime minister told the US president.

Biden responded by saying he intended to accept the invitation quickly.

An invitation from the Republican of Ireland followed shortly afterwards.

Biden is one of several US politicians who can claim a role in pushing through the deal. He served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that urged the Clinton administration to use its political clout and broker the deal.

His Irish heritage has been a frequent touchstone for his political speeches, and he has described how his family left their homeland ‘because of what the British did’.

Last year, on St. Patrick’s Day, he explained what his Irish heritage gave him and other Irish emigrants.

“Hope is what brought forth a nation of poets and patriots, saints, scholars, artists and engineers on the Emerald Isle,” he said at the White House.

“Hope made us look to the distant horizon. It spurs us over every obstacle. It tells us to try again when we fall short, to get up every time we fall.”

Mr Heaton-Harris said the threat level assessment “takes into account a range of factors and analysis of recent incidents”.

“The decision to change the threat level is taken by MI5, independently of the ministers,” he said.

“The public should remain vigilant, but not alarmed, and continue to report concerns to Northern Ireland Police.

Over the past 25 years, Northern Ireland has transformed into a peaceful society. The Belfast Agreement (Good Friday) shows how peaceful and democratic politics improves society.

“However, a small number of people remain determined to harm our communities through politically motivated violence.

“In recent months we have seen an increase in terrorism-related activity in relation to Northern Ireland, targeting police officers serving their communities and also endangering the lives of children and other members of the public.

“These attacks have no support, as evidenced by the response to the abhorrent attempted murder of DCI Caldwell.

“I pay tribute to the tremendous efforts of Northern Ireland Police and security partners, and the determination and resilience of the Northern Ireland people, who are making Northern Ireland a safer place to live and work.

Northern Ireland’s political future rests with the democratic will of the people and not the violent actions of a few. Together we ensure that there is no return to the violence of the past.’

Biden accepted an invitation to visit Northern Ireland from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a rally in San Diego earlier this month.  He has also been invited to the Republic of Ireland

Biden accepted an invitation to visit Northern Ireland from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a rally in San Diego earlier this month.  He has also been invited to the Republic of Ireland

Biden accepted an invitation to visit Northern Ireland from British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a rally in San Diego earlier this month. He has also been invited to the Republic of Ireland

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson called on the government to fund more police officers in the region.

“It’s bad news for Northern Ireland when the risk of further attacks shifts to ‘probable’ or ‘very likely’,” he said.

“I look forward to a day when the threat level is removed, but to get there the community needs to get behind the police and demonstrate that there is no room for terrorism in Northern Ireland by 2023.

“The government has pledged to help fund 7,500 officers in the PSNI, but has not yet fulfilled that promise.

“With police officers facing such a threat, now is the time for the government to provide additional funding to ensure that the Northern Ireland Police Force has the full capacity to deal with this threat.”

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