Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

British, Irish leaders discuss border issue

British, Irish leaders discuss border issue

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says Brexit negotiations must not be held up by disputes over Irish borders and that the issue should be tackled in phase two of departure talks.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and then his British counterpart Theresa May, EU spokesman Margaritis Schinas wrote on Twitter. The EU had set a deadline of Sunday after the last talks on Monday broke down when May's Northern Irish allies objected to terms for future arrangements for the Irish border.

The long-awaited announcement also followed talks which continued into the early hours between the Prime Minister and Democratic Unionist Party, Arlene Foster.

A European Commission spokesman said it was ready to resume Brexit negotiations as soon as London signals it is ready.

"We believe there is still more work to be done to improve the paper". The agreement made no explicit mention of the court, although Juncker said that European Union citizens would continue to have rights under it.

In that scenario, the leaders would once again rule that insufficient progress had been made on the opening issues of citizens' rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border for talks on trade and a transition period to start.

EU President Donald Tusk had triggered fevered speculation on Thursday about a deal when he announced that he would make a press statement on the Brexit talks at 0650 GMT on Friday. While the parties failed to agree on the most important points of agreement, among which the border regime between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

The EU says May has an effective deadline of Sunday night if she wants to seal a deal and hope to have agreement on trade talks in time for the EU summit on December 14-15.

May wants the European Union to open the so-called second phase of Brexit negotiations, about the trading relationship after the United Kingdom's withdrawal at 2300 GMT on March 29, 2019. But, had it gone ahead, a regulatory deal for Northern Ireland would also have created important economic differences with the other United Kingdom nations.

Before his elevation last month, Williamson was Theresa May's chief whip, tasked with keeping unruly members of her Conservative Party under control.

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