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Ireland's Varadkar says reassured by UK PM May over DUP deal


Reuters

UPDATE 1-Ireland's Varadkar says reassured by UK PM May over DUP deal


(Recasts with Varadkar quotes)
    LONDON, June 19 (Reuters) - Irish Prime Minister Leo
Varadkar said he had been reassured by British Prime Minister
Theresa May that her plan to form a government with support from
a Northern Irish party would not destabilise power in the
province.
    May, who lost her parliamentary majority in a June 8
election, is seeking backing from the Democratic Unionist Party
and its 10 lawmakers to get legislation through parliament,
including the bills needed to enact Britain's divorce from the
EU.
    Some political leaders in Northern Ireland fear a tie-up
between the two could unsettle politics in Britain's smallest
province, where pro-British unionists share power with Irish
nationalists following a 1998 peace deal that ended three
decades of sectarian violence.
    Varadkar, at a news conference with May in Downing Street,
said both the British and Irish governments needed to be
impartial actors in relation to Northern Ireland's power-sharing
arrangements, which are currently stalled.
    "I was very much reassured by what the prime minister had to
say that the agreement, once it's reached, would be published so
it would be there for everyone to see," he said.
    "We spoke about the very important need for both governments
to be impartial actors when it comes to Northern Ireland, and
also that we are co-guarantors to the Good Friday Agreement and
that any agreement that may exist between the Conservative Party
and the DUP should not in any way impact on the Good Friday
Agreement.
    "I was very reassured by the prime minister (who) said to me
today that that would be the case."
    May, who said that talks with the DUP were ongoing, and
Varadkar also reiterated that they wanted the border between
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to be as seamless
as possible once Britain has left the EU.
    The border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the
United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, will
become the only land frontier between the UK and the EU after
Britain exits the bloc in March 2019.
    At a separate briefing in Belfast, Simon Hamilton, a senior
DUP member of the Northern Irish Assembly, said discussions were
ongoing in London. "They will take as long as they take," he
told reporters, when asked if they could be completed by this
week.


 (Reporting by William James; Additional reporting by Amanda
Ferguson in Belfast; Writing by Estelle Shirbon and Kate Holton;
Editing by Alison Williams)
 ((estelle.shirbon@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 1346;))

Keywords: BRITAIN POLITICS/MAY VARADKAR (UPDATE 1)



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