Joe Biden has directly appealed for power-sharing to “soon be restored” in Northern Ireland as he claimed a functioned devolved government could reap more economic rewards.

The US President, speaking during a keynote address at Ulster University in Belfast, praised the work of the UK Government and EU to strike the Windsor Framework on post-Brexit trading arrangements.

But the renegotiated deal has failed to see the return of powersharing to Stormont, with the DUP refusing to enter into arrangements over post-Brexit rules.

The DUP has said the framework does not go far enough to address its concerns over sovereignty.

Read more: Joe Biden in Ireland and Scotland's stake in the Good Friday Agreement

Mr Biden met with Stormont’s political leaders before making the speech at the university’s new campus in Belfast city centre.

Earlier, he had a 45-minute meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a Belfast hotel.

The president’s visit to Northern Ireland comes amid the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday peace accord that created Stormont’s powersharing institutions.

Speaking in Belfast, Mr Biden said: “As a friend, I hope it’s not too presumptuous for me to say that I believe the democratic institutions established in Good Friday Agreement remain critical for the future of Northern Ireland.

“It’s a decision for you to make, not for me to make, but it seems to me they are related.

“An effective devolved government that reflects the people of Northern Ireland and is accountable to them, a government that works to find ways through hard problems together, is going to draw even greater opportunity in this region.”

He added: “So, I hope the assembly and the executive will soon be restored. That’s a judgement for you to make, not me, but I hope it happens, along with the institutions that facilitate north-south and east-west relations, all of which are vital pieces of the Good Friday Agreement.

Read more: Biden visit: Stormont power-sharing remains Rishi Sunak's priority

“For in politics, no matter what divides us, if we look hard enough, there are always areas that’s going to bring us together if we look hard enough. Standing for peace and rejecting political violence must be one of those things.”

Mr Biden said Brexit had created “complex challenges” for Northern Ireland.

“I encouraged the leaders of the UK and the EU to address the issues in a way that served Northern Ireland’s best interest,” he said.

“I deeply appreciate the personal leadership of Prime Minister Sunak and European Commissioner (Ursula) Von der Leyen to reach an agreement.”

Mr Biden added: “The Windsor Framework addresses the practical realities of Brexit and it is an essential step to ensuring the hard-earned peace and progress of the Good Friday Agreement that they are preserved and strengthened.

“Negotiators listened to business leaders across the UK and Ireland who shared what they needed to succeed, and I believe the stability and predictability offered by this framework will encourage greater investment in Northern Ireland, significant investment in Northern Ireland.”

The Herald: Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak in BelfastJoe Biden and Rishi Sunak in Belfast (Image: PA)

Mr Sunak welcomed the President’s visit and said it was a reminder of the US contribution to the peace process.

The Prime Minister, who did not attend Mr Biden’s speech at Ulster University, said a key focus of their earlier meeting was leveraging more economic opportunities for Northern Ireland.

Mr Sunak said: “We spoke in particular about the incredible economic opportunities that are there in store for Northern Ireland and we talked about the investment potential that is there, the companies that want to invest in Northern Ireland.

“I think that is incredibly exciting, it will bring growth, jobs and prosperity to Northern Ireland and I know he shares my ambition to see the institutions here back up and running, that is what people and businesses in Northern Ireland deserve.”