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Brexit border agreement reached between Ireland and UK
05 December 2017, 01:55 | Sherry Padilla
Sterling spikes on news of UK-Ireland trade breakthrough
According to a leak to the Irish state broadcaster RTE, the United Kingdom was willing to agree to Northern Ireland having "continued regulatory alignment" with the Republic of Ireland to ensure there was a continued soft border between the North and South.
Coveney said the talks are in a "sensitive place", with the British and Irish governments discussing possible texts of an agreement.
"We will not accept any form of regulatory divergence which separates Northern Ireland economically or politically from the rest of the U.K.", DUP leader Arlene Foster said.
May met with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and will later speak with EU Council President Tusk amid hopes to make progress on the questions of Britain's exit bill, the Irish border and the rights of citizens.
She said negotiators from both sides would re-enage by the end of the week. Officials said he was preparing to call round European Union leaders to get agreement on trade negotiations.
"I am surprised and disappointed that the British government now appears not to be in a position to conclude what was agreed earlier today", Varadkar said at a press conference in Dublin.
Tusk said a breakthrough had come in the talks on the Irish border, as reported to him by Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
Mrs May had traveled to Brussels with high hopes that a deal could be struck with the European Union and that talks could move on to the crucial trade arrangements as early as the New Year.
"This is not a failure", Juncker added after a long negotiating lunch with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
She said: "There are a couple of issues, some differences do remain which require further negotiation and consultation".
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein's Brexit spokesman David Cullinane told Sky News it is "crucial" Northern Ireland remains in the customs union and single market as "the only way to avoid the hardening of the border".
It is understood this is a sticking point in reaching a deal on post-Brexit citizens' rights, the part of the phase one divorce negotiations that had previously been considered to be the most advanced.
The Prime Minister is reliant on any support from the party as the DUP is propping up her government with its 10 MPs.
"And the problem between the Republic and Northern Ireland is a outcome of the British decision not only to leave the EU but also the single market and the customs union". "Getting closer to sufficient progress at December #EUCO".
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