Joe Biden said he intends to visit Northern Ireland after Rishi Sunak formally invited him to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Biden, speaking after talks with Mr Sunak in San Diego, said: “It’s my intention to go to Northern Ireland and the Republic.”

Mr Sunak told the president: “I look forward to our conversations and also importantly, to invite you to Northern Ireland, which hopefully you will be able to do and so we can commemorate the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

“I know it’s something very special and personal to you. we’d love to have you over.”

Mr Biden said: “Twenty-five years? It seems like yesterday.”

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Planning for a possible trip by the US President has been under way for months, but his participation had been in doubt while the UK and EU were locked in talks about post-Brexit trade arrangements for Northern Ireland.

As the pair met in Point Loma naval base following the announcement of the Aukus submarine pact, the US president joked about also being invited to Mr Sunak’s home in Santa Monica.

“First of all, I want to welcome you back to California. He’s a Stanford man, and he still has a home here in California,” he said.

“That’s why I’m being very nice to you, maybe you can invite me to your home in California. But all kidding aside, I think it’s an historic day for our countries.”

Ahead of their talks, Mr Sunak dampened any hopes that he could get the president to reopen negotiations on a post-Brexit free trade deal with the US.

The Prime Minister insisted transatlantic trade was “growing massively anyway” as he praised pacts with individual states ahead of his meeting with the US president in San Diego on Monday.

A free trade deal with the world’s largest economy had been touted as one of the prizes of leaving the European Union but negotiations have stalled.

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