July 26, 2019 / 10:30 AM / 23 days ago

Ireland says UK PM Johnson "very unhelpful" on Brexit

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) - Ireland’s foreign minister, Simon Coveney, said new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s approach to Brexit talks was “very unhelpful” and would not lead to an agreement.

Johnson told Britain’s parliament on Thursday that he did not want to retain the so-called post-Brexit ‘backstop’ that would preserve an open border between Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland in the event of longer-term trade talks collapsing.

“The statements of the British Prime Minister yesterday in the House of Commons were very unhelpful to this process,” Coveney told reporters on Friday after meeting Britain’s new secretary of state for Northern Ireland in Belfast.

“He seems to have made a deliberate decision to set Britain on a collision course with the European Union and with Ireland in relation to the Brexit negotiations, and I think only he can answer the question as to why he is doing that,” Coveney added. (Reporting by David Milliken and Alistair Smout; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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