Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: UK top diplomat says gaps remain in Northern Ireland talks with EU

There are still genuine differences between British and European Union negotiators that could take some time to resolve if talks on revising post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland are to succeed, Britain’s foreign minister said. James Cleverly was speaking after meeting political and business leaders in Northern Ireland to discuss difficulties about the trading arrangements after a mellowing in a years-long standoff yielded some progress this week. “Optimism is great, having a spirit of optimism is important but there are still genuine differences and they can’t just be wished away, they need to be resolved and sometimes that does take some time,” Cleverly told reporters. (https://neuters.de/world/uk/uk-ministers-meet-northern-irish-leaders-post-brexit-trade-2023-01-11/) The post-Brexit trading arrangements, the so-called Northern Ireland protocol agreed with the European Union, has put strains not only on the British-run province but also on ties between London and Brussels over the deal. But over the last few months, the tone of talks to try to resolve differences over the protocol has softened, with the antagonism that marked the discussions since 2019 replaced by what appears to be a new push to find a negotiated settlement.

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