October 12, 2018 / 12:59 PM / 4 days ago

Irish Foreign Minister warns against unfounded optimism on Brexit

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Optimism about an imminent breakthrough in Brexit talks reported in newspapers in recent days is “probably not well founded” and people should be realistic about time frames, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told RTE Radio on Friday.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney arrives to address during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Brexit negotiations between Britain and the European Union have accelerated and become more positive over the past week, though significant hurdles remain, officials have said.

But optimism about an imminent breakthrough reported in newspapers in recent days may be overdone, Coveney told RTE radio.

“I think that the optimism that we have read about in newspapers in recent days is probably not well founded. Nothing has been agreed yet,” he said.

“There is very intensive efforts now to try and find the combinations for each other in terms of the two negotiating teams. But as I say we shouldn’t draw any conclusions from that. We don’t have any agreement yet. And I think we need to be realistic about time frames,” he said.

Coveney said, however, that he hoped a “big step forward” would be made next week.

“The negotiating teams are hard at it this week and will probably be negotiating intensively through the weekend as well and will hopefully have some political recommendations to feed political leaders early next week,” he said.

Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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