Hillary Clinton has warned that a hard border between Northern and the Republic of Ireland must not undermine peace between the states.
Writing for the Guardian, the former secretary of state said that the hand of history will be “heavy and unforgiving” if Brexit leads to conflict in Ireland.
“We cannot allow Brexit to undermine the peace that people voted, fought and even died for,” wrote Clinton. “Reinstating the border would be an enormous setback, returning to the ‘bad old days’ when communities would once again be set apart.”
Marking the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday agreement, Clinton warned of the importance for ministers to agree on a solution to the Irish border before the next European summit in June.
“If short-term interests take precedent over solving the long-term challenges that still exist in Northern Ireland, then it is clear that the hand of history will be both heavy and unforgiving,” she wrote.
“These are difficult times for Northern Ireland, and for our world. As the Brexit debate wages on, I continue to believe in the value of the European Union, and of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.”
Clinton is not the only non-European to express concern of Brexit. The former US senator, George Mitchell, has said that London and Dublin should put aside their differences over Brexit to protect the border deal.
“I have said many times that the factor that led to the talks was the decision by the governments of the UK and Ireland to cooperate, to try to establish a basis for those negotiations. This was indisputably the critical first factor and but for that I don’t think there would have been any talks or any agreement,” he said on Tuesday.
“You can draw from that time in history that this governmental cooperation must continue.”
“A hard border is essential to avoid and I note that … the UK government and the EU, have publicly committed themselves to avoiding that. So we have to support and encourage the final outcome of Brexit where there is no hard border.”
“Because a hard border would lead to the conditions that created demonisation and stereotyping between Britain and Ireland in the past but I do think both the British government and the EU are genuine in their wish to avoid a hard border and so I believe the agreement will survive,” he added.