October 9, 2018 / 6:43 AM / 2 months ago

Leader of Northern Ireland's DUP says Brexit deal 'eminently possible'

Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, walks through the venue of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

BELFAST (Reuters) - The head of the Northern Irish party that props up Prime Minister Theresa May’s government said on Tuesday a Brexit deal was “eminently possible” within weeks, but she would not accept different regulations from the rest of the United Kingdom.

In an interview before a meeting with chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Foster stuck to her rejection of any new regulatory or customs barriers between Britain and Northern Ireland - but said with political will, a deal was possible.

“We cannot have the single market of the United Kingdom interfered with in that way and that is the message we will be giving to Michel Barnier today. There cannot be any regulatory barriers between ourselves and the rest of the United Kingdom,” she said.

“I want to see a deal that works for everyone and I think that is eminently possible if the political will is there to make it happen,” Foster told BBC Radio Ulster.

The border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is the biggest remaining sticking point in Brexit talks between Britain and the European Union, and both sides are trying to work out how to monitor and regulate trade over the frontier.

EU sources told Reuters on Thursday that EU negotiators see the outline of a compromise on the Irish border issue, raising hopes that a new British offer could unlock a deal.

Reporting by Amanda Ferguson; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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