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Solving N.Irish Brexit row would help focus on Ukraine, UK says

Randy Mancini 8 Feb 20
Munich Security Conference, in Munich
FILE PHOTO: British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss speaks during the annual Munich Security Conference, in Munich, Germany February 19, 2022. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

February 21, 2022

LONDON (Reuters) – Settling a Brexit dispute over Northern Irish trade would enable London and Brussels to focus on external issues such as Ukraine, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will tell the European Union on Monday.

Britain and the EU have been locked in talks for months to rework a politically divisive Northern Ireland protocol that was agreed by London as part of its exit from the EU two years ago.

The protocol kept Northern Ireland in the EU’s single market for goods in order to preserve a politically sensitive open border with EU member state Ireland.

In so doing, though, it created an effective border in the Irish Sea, angering pro-British, pro-Brexit unionists in the province and spurring the British government to seek to rewrite the deal it signed up to.

Truss will travel to Brussels on Monday to discuss the situation with the Commission’s Maros Sefcovic.

“It is important we all work together to preserve peace and stability in Northern Ireland, allowing us to focus on building a stronger relationship and focus on external issues, not least the situation in Eastern Europe and standing up to Russian aggression,” she said in a statement.

(Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)