Ireland calls on UK to re-engage in talks over N.Ireland protocol

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Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney speaks at the launch of his party's manifesto for the Irish General Election in Dublin, Ireland January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Lorraine O'Sullivan

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BRUSSELS, May 16 (Reuters) - The EU and UK can still reach a compromise that would keep the Northern Ireland trade deal alive, as long as the British government is willing to re-engage in discussions, Ireland's foreign minister Simon Coveney said on Monday.

"There is still time for re-engagement and that is what we should be focusing on now. We need to move back into a phase of dialogue, compromise and partnership. If we do, I think we can resolve a lot of these issues over the next few weeks", Coveney told reporters in Brussels.

Coveney declined to speculate on possible moves by the EU if the British government would unilaterally scrap the Northern Ireland protocol.

"I think that the British government understands only too well what the EU would then be forced into doing. But I don't think it's helpful to focus on that today."

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Reporting by Bart Meijer and Jan Strupczewski Editing by Chris Reese

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