December 3, 2017 / 1:38 PM / a year ago

Ireland says unclear if EU, UK can agree wording on border issue by Monday

DUBLIN, Dec 3 (Reuters) - It is not yet clear if Britain and the European Union will be able to agree on written assurances to avoid a hard Northern Ireland border in time for a Monday deadline, Ireland’s foreign minister Simon Coveney said on Sunday.

But he said he was hopeful a meeting between British Prime Minister Theresa May and European Council President Donald Tusk on Monday would create momentum towards a deal in time for a Dec. 14-15 EU summit to allow Britain to move on to talks on its future trading relations with the bloc.

“The hope is that those meetings will result in a momentum that can be carried in to the leaders’ summit the week after ... and can allow this Brexit negotiation process to open up to phase two of discussions,” Coveney told RTE radio.

Asked if he expected an agreed text of written British assurances on the issue by Monday morning, Coveney said: “Let’s not run before we can walk here. Obviously, we would like that to be the case.” (Reporting by Conor Humphries; Editing by Mark Potter)

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