September 23, 2019 / 5:02 AM / 2 months ago

UK PM Johnson says: don't expect Brexit breakthrough in New York

NEW YORK, Sept 23 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday cautioned against the likelihood of making a Brexit breakthrough at talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Johnson said that while a “great deal” of progress had been made since he took office in July, there were “clearly still gaps and still difficulties”.

“I would caution you all not to think that this is going to be the moment,” he told reporters on the plane on the way to New York. “I don’t wish to elevate excessively the belief that there will be a New York breakthrough.”

Johnson said a great deal of progress had been made as it was now obvious that the Withdrawal Agreement had to be changed.

“We have seen interest in the idea of treating the island of Ireland as a single zone for sanitary and phytosanitary purposes that is also encouraging,” he said. “However there are clearly still gaps and still difficulties.”

“The interesting thing about the current situation is there is a strong coincidence of motive amongst partners around the table in that a large number of the important players really do now want a deal and that certainly goes for the UK government, I believe it goes for our German friends, our Irish friends, the French ... so we are working very hard.” (Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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