February 20, 2019 / 7:42 PM / 8 months ago

Irish backstop is temporary, May and Juncker say

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The “backstop” provision in Britain’s EU divorce deal aimed at avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland is temporary, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and British Prime Minister Theresa May said after a meeting in Brussels.

“Their discussions covered which guarantees could be given with regard to the backstop that underlines once again its temporary nature and give the appropriate legal assurance to both sides,” they said in a joint statement.

Juncker and May agreed to speak again before the end of February, the statement said.

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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