UK, Ireland signal new hope of deal to end Brexit trade feud

UK, Ireland signal new hope of deal to end Brexit trade feud


LONDON (AP) — Britain and Ireland hailed a new spirit of compromise on Friday in a grinding feud over post-Brexit trade rules, expressing hope of making enough progress in the next three weeks to avoid a destabilizing new election in Northern Ireland.

It comes as new British Prime Minister Liz Truss seeks to improve relations with the U.K.’s neighbors after the country’s long, acrimonious divorce from the European Union.

U.K. Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris said Britain and the EU were negotiating “in good faith and good humor” — a marked contrast from the bitter tone that has marred relations since the U.K. voted for Brexit in 2016.

Speaking to reporters in London after a meeting of the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference, he said he was “very positive about the chances of getting a negotiated solution.”

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said “political leadership is about making things happen and sometimes surprising people, and I think that’s what we need to do over the next few weeks.”

Arrangements for Northern Ireland — the only part of the U.K. that shares a border with an EU member, which is Ireland — have been the most contentious issue so far in the U.K.-E.U. divorce, which became final at the end of 2020.

The two sides agreed to keep the Irish border free of customs posts and other checks because an open border is a key pillar of the peace process that ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland. Instead, some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the U.K. undergo checks.

That solution has spiraled into a political crisis for the power-sharing government in Belfast, with British Unionist politicians refusing to form a government with Irish nationalists because they see the checks as undermining their British identity...

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