IN FULL: Prime Minister Theresa May's Northern Ireland Brexit statement

08 December, 2017, 10:46 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • AP  Virginia Mayo

Theresa May arrived in Brussels on Friday morning following overnight talks on the issue of the Irish border.

A breakthrough deal on the first stage of Brexit has been dramatically secured by British Prime Minister Theresa May after making "sufficient progress" in early-morning European Union talks.

Ireland's prime minister, Leo Varadkar, said late Wednesday that he hopes May will submit a new offer "tonight or tomorrow". "Talks are continuing throughout the night".

The Lib Dem spokesman said there was "still no solution over how to prevent a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland" in the text of the joint report.

The EU says an agreement on key divorce terms fulfills its requirement for "sufficient progress" before the talks can move on to a second phase.

Speaking at an early morning press conference in Brussels, Juncker said "today's result is of course a compromise".

While insisting a deal must be put forward this week, Schinas told reporters: "In this building, we work for a full week, 24/7, and our week includes Sunday".

Fifth, we will uphold the commitments and safeguards set out in the Belfast Agreement regarding North-South Co-operation.

But more significantly - and perhaps crucially - the DUP's Westminster leader Nigel Dodds and the party's chief whip Sir Jeffrey Donaldson were seen emerging from 70 Whitehall, the offices of the PM's de-facto deputy, Damian Green.

Britain and the European Union on Friday reached a deal on the terms of their divorce, leaders said, opening the door to talks about Britain's relationship with the bloc after it quits its decades-long membership.

"Later on Thursday, the political editor of the BBC said the leadership of the DUP in Belfast had not signed off on the border deal, meaning it could yet stumble, but May continued to plan to meet Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk early on Friday in Brussels to finalize the agreement".

The UK, which is due to leave the European Union in March 2019, wants to open talks on a new free trade deal as soon as possible.

The two sides also appeared to agree for now on a fudge about how the rights of European citizens will be guaranteed in post-Brexit Britain.

"We are going to take back control of our borders, of our laws and of United Kingdom cash contributions and that's the way forward, and we will come up with a solution", he added.

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