August 6, 2019 / 7:34 PM / 15 days ago

Irish PM urges Britain, EU to start talks on future relationship

FIL PHOTO: Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar arrives to take part in a European Union leaders summit, in Brussels, Belgium July 2, 2019. Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Pool via REUTERS

BELFAST (Reuters) - Ireland’s prime minister urged Britain and the European Union on Tuesday to use the time until Brexit, set for Oct. 31, to explore alternative arrangements as part of a joint political declaration on their future relationship.

“We can talk about the joint political declaration on the future relationship,” Leo Varadkar said in a debate in Belfast with other political figures, “and in that there is provision for alternative arrangements.

“Why don’t we start there and see if between now and October 31 we can’t flesh them out? If we come to October 31 and we haven’t fleshed them out, then there’s the option of an extension (of Britain’s EU membership). Or there’s the option of leaving with the (Irish border) backstop, with the alternative arrangements to be sorted out in the implementation period.”

Reporting by Ian Graham; Writing by Graham Fahy; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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