Planning for a possible trip by the US President has been under way for months, but his participation was in doubt while the UK and EU remained locked in talks about post-Brexit trade arrangements for Northern Ireland.
But today Rishi Sunak is planning to invite Mr Biden officially, despite ongoing uncertainty over whether unionists will accept the Windsor Framework he has agreed with Brussels to remove trade barriers with Great Britain.
The Prime Minister will hold one-on-one talks with the President in San Diego, their first face-to-face meeting since the G20 summit in November.
Speaking on his flight to the US, Mr Sunak said: “I’ll be keen to invite him to come. It’s not confirmed yet. But it will be something that obviously I’ll be talking to him about.
“Hopefully he will be able to make it, so that will be a nice way. We’ve got this very important milestone to commemorate and celebrate – the 25th anniversary. And that’s why the Windsor Framework was such a positive step.”
“What I’m concentrating on now is talking to everyone in Northern Ireland so we can find a positive way to move forward and get power-sharing up and running – that’s my priority. Now, it’s lovely to have the opportunity to celebrate the incredible work of the GFA and the balance that it holds. Actually, it was that balance that had been disrupted. And I think the Windsor Framework restores that balance.”
He refused to comment on whether Mr Biden might return in May for the coronation of the King, saying only that “there’s lot of great things to celebrate”.
The President has visited the UK once since taking office, attending the G7 summit in Cornwall in 2021. Mr Biden, who often comments on his pride in his Irish ancestry, has not yet visited Ireland during his presidency.
Members of his administration previously indicated that he could scrap his mooted trip to Northern Ireland around the time of the anniversary, which falls on 10 April, if the region was still in political deadlock as a result of unionist anger over the disruption to trade within the UK caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol which was negotiated by Boris Johnson.