US secretary of state hails UK alliance but stresses need for stability in Northern Ireland

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hailed the U.K. as his country's closest ally ahead of President Joe Biden’s trip to Europe next month, though he issued a gentle nudge to his hosts to prioritize "stability" in Northern Ireland amid tensions there over the impact of Brexit. Blinken held a joint press conference Monday with Dominic Raab, the U.K. foreign secretary, as G7 foreign ministers gather for meetings in London. The two men presented a united front as they were challenged on potential differences in approach to the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the implementation of the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol — the section of the Brexit deal with the EU that is designed to prevent the need for a hard border with the Republic of Ireland to the south.

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