August 21, 2019 / 5:10 PM / 3 months ago

Johnson on Brexit at meeting with Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) - Britain wants to do a swift Brexit deal but the “undemocratic” Irish border backstop must be axed in full to prevent a no-deal exit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on during a news conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Following are key quotes from Johnson at a joint news conference:

ON A BREXIT DEAL

“I just want to be absolutely clear with all our German friends and with the German government that we in the UK want a deal.”

ON THE IRISH BACKSTOP

“We do need that backstop removed. But if we can do that then I’m absolutely certain we can move forward together.”

“Yes, of course, I think there is ample scope to do a deal.”

“I’m not attracted to a time limit, I think there are other flaws with the backstop.”

“The backstop, that particular arrangement, which I do think has grave, grave defects for a democratic country, a sovereign democratic country like the UK, that plainly has to go.

“But, once we get rid of it, if we can change it then i think there is the real prospect of making progress very rapidly indeed.”

ON EU DEALS

“In my life I’ve watched a lot of European negotiations and it looks at first as if it’s irresistible force and immovable object.

“In my experience what happens is that people find a way through. I think that if we approach this with sufficient patience and optimism, we can get this done. It’s in the final furlong generally when the horses change places and the winning deal appears.”

Reporting by William James; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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