October 16, 2018 / 1:49 PM / a month ago

Irish FM says Brexit border backstop key 'unless and until' new trade deal comes

FILE PHOTO: Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney speaks during a news conference in Dublin, Ireland, April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - More time is needed for a Brexit deal between the European Union and Britain that would maintain an open Irish border, Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Tuesday.

As chances for a Brexit breakthrough at an EU leaders’ summit on Wednesday and Thursday have receded, Coveney said he expected no big decisions since negotiators from both sides needed time to get back to talks and see where they go.

Coveney added that the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier reassured him of the bloc’s unwavering solidarity with Ireland. Coveney said that the Brexit deal must include an emergency fix that would be valid “unless and until” the open Irish border is ensured ahead by a new EU-UK trade deal after Brexit.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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