Ir­ish PM: Brexit is un­der­min­ing peace ac­cord

The Myanmar Times - - World -

BREXIT is un­der­min­ing North­ern Ire­land’s hard-won peace by cre­at­ing ten­sions be­tween Catholic and Protes­tant com­mu­ni­ties, Ir­ish Prime Min­is­ter Leo Varad­kar said Satur­day, even as hopes rose for a so­lu­tion to the Ir­ish border prob­lem that has dead­locked ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“Brexit has un­der­mined the Good Fri­day Agree­ment” — the 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of vi­o­lence in North­ern Ire­land — “and it is fraying re­la­tion­ships be­tween Britain and Ire­land,” Varad­kar said.

“Any­thing that pulls the two com­mu­ni­ties apart in North­ern Ire­land un­der­mines the Good Fri­day Agree­ment and any­thing that pulls Britain and Ire­land apart un­der­mines that re­la­tion­ship,” he told Ire­land’s RTE ra­dio.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Britain and the Euro­pean Union over Britain’s de­par­ture from the bloc have stalled over the is­sue of the border be­tween EU mem­ber Ire­land and the UK’s North­ern Ire­land.

Both sides agree there must be no cus­toms posts or other bar­ri­ers that could dis­rupt busi­nesses and res­i­dents or un­der­mine North­ern Ire­land’s peace. But they haven’t agreed on how to guar­an­tee that — and Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29.

The border im­passe has height­ened fears that the UK might crash out of the EU with­out a deal on di­vorce terms and fu­ture re­la­tions, lead­ing to chaos at ports and eco­nomic tur­moil.

The EU has pro­posed keep­ing North­ern Ire­land in­side a cus­toms union with the bloc to re­move the need for border checks on the is­land.

But Britain’s Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment and its North­ern Ir­ish ally, the Demo­cratic Union­ist Party, won’t ac­cept that be­cause it would mean cus­toms and reg­u­la­tory checks be­tween North­ern Ire­land and the rest of the UK. Britain wants in­stead to keep the whole UK in an EU cus­toms union, but only tem­po­rar­ily.

Although there has been no out­ward sign of a Brexit break­through, Ir­ish and Bri­tish of­fi­cials say they are in­creas­ingly op­ti­mistic that a so­lu­tion can be found.Af­ter meet­ing Fri­day with Ir­ish Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Si­mon Coveney in Dublin, Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s deputy David Lid­ing­ton said ne­go­tia­tors were “very close” to an agree­ment. – AP


In this Wednes­day, Oc­to­ber 17, 2018 file photo, Ire­land’s PM Leo Varad­kar ar­rives for a meet­ing of the Euro­pean Peo­ple’s Party EPP in Brus­sels, Bel­gium.Photo:

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