The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) or Belfast Agreement (Irish: Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or Comhaontú Bhéal Feirste; Ulster-Scots: Guid Friday Greeance or Bilfawst Greeance), these are some agreements signed on April 10, 1998 that put an end to most of the violence of the Troubles, a political conflict in Northern Ireland that had arisen since the late 1960s. This was an important development in the peace process in Northern Ireland in the 1990s. Northern Ireland`s current system of de decentralised government is based on the agreement. The Agreement also established a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. In addition to the number of signatories,[Note 1] Stefan Wolff identifies the following similarities and differences between the issues covered by the two agreements: U.S. Senator George Mitchell, who led the negotiations on the Belfast Agreement, said he believed the creation of a border control system between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland could jeopardize the agreement.  A study published on February 18, 2019 by Irish Senator Mark Daly and two UNESCO presidents found that reintroducing a hard border would lead to a return to violence.     After the British Parliament voted to leave the European Union, all parties said they wanted to avoid a hard border in Ireland, particularly because of the historically sensitive nature of the border. Border issues were one of the three areas of negotiations concentrated in the proposed Withdrawal Agreement. Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 31 January 2020, this border is also the border between the EU and a third country.
The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement obliges the UK to maintain an open border in Ireland, so (in many ways) the de facto border is the Irish Sea between the two islands. In Northern Ireland, the results of the vote on the deal were as follows: On 2 October, Johnson presented a potential replacement for the 2018 Irish backstop and proposed that Northern Ireland remain aligned with the EU in terms of product standards, but remain on UK customs territory. This would require product controls between Britain and Northern Ireland, but no customs controls on goods that are expected to remain in the UK. For the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, his proposal would include customs controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic (possibly supported by technology implemented far from the border), but not product controls and safety standards on the island of Ireland.  This proposal was rejected by the EU.  Historically, there has been support for a united Ireland within the left of the British Labour Party, and in the 1980s it became official policy to support a united Ireland by approval.  The policy of “unity by consent” continued into the 1990s and was eventually replaced by a policy of neutrality consistent with the Downing Street Declaration.  Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn supports a united Ireland, although he said it was “up to the Irish people to decide” whether it should remain in the UK.  They do not organise themselves selectively in Northern Ireland and respect the SDLP as their sister party within the Party of European Socialists. Similarly, the Liberal Democrats are working with the Alliance Party and sharing their support for the Good Friday Agreement, while expressing reservations about what they perceive as “institutionalised sectarianism” in the agreement.