February 12, 2018 / 7:02 PM / in 9 months

Irish PM 'very hopeful' for Northern Ireland power-sharing deal this week

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland Leo Varadkar speaks at a news conference in Dublin, Ireland, January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

BELFAST (Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he was very hopeful that the two leading parties in Northern Ireland could agree this week to revive a power-sharing government.

“The differences that exist between the DUP and Sinn Fein are not insurmountable, and we are very hopeful that those two parties will be able to come to an agreement this week, and then include the other parties,” Varadkar told reporters after meeting British Prime Minister Theresa May.

“It is our strong view that an inclusive executive including as many parties as possible would be more sustainable and more beneficial for Northern Ireland as a whole,” he added.

Varadkar and May travelled to Belfast on Monday in an attempt to persuade political parties to restore devolved government and avoid the introduction of direct rule from London.

Writing by William Schomberg and David Milliken; editing by Stephen Addison

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