By Dominic McGrath, PA
Foreign Affairs Minster Simon Coveney will travel to Washington to meet with senior officials in the Biden administration.
Mr Coveney will visit Washington DC and Boston, with the three-day trip from April 27-29th set to include meetings with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
He is also set for meetings on Capitol Hill.
The meeting comes amid ongoing negotiations on the Northern Ireland Protocol, as well as days before the Assembly elections on May 5th.
Mr Coveney is expected to raise the Northern Ireland Protocol, as well both the war in Ukraine and the upcoming elections, during his visit.
The protocol is aimed at avoiding a hard border with Ireland, but has created a series of economic barriers on Irish Sea trade.
President Joe Biden has been a vocal opponent of any moves perceived to pose a threat to peace in Northern Ireland and the stability of the Good Friday Agreement.
The UK Government has refused to be drawn on reports that the Queen’s Speech on May 10th may include legislation to unilaterally suspend the protocol if a negotiated solution does not emerge.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Coveney said: “Ireland and the United States have deep and warm relations built on a foundation of historic ties and shared values. Strengthening this relationship further is a priority for the Government.
“This visit to Washington DC and Boston is an important opportunity to discuss shared approaches to confronting global challenges, and to re-engage with our diaspora community and other friends of Ireland in the United States as we emerge from the pandemic.”