Johnson eyes Irish border in Brexit negotiations

Johnson eyes Irish border in Brexit negotiations
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European Union officials declined U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s request to revisit the provisions of Brexit negotiations relating to the Irish border, according to Reuters.

In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, Johnson wrote that negotiations should be reopened to replace the original agreement’s “backstop,” which would keep Northern Ireland bound by the rules of the EU’s single market, according to the news service.


Johnson wrote that the backstop threatens U.K. sovereignty by creating a virtual border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K., and also said it could inflame tensions between Northern Irish nationalists and unionists, the latter of whom are part of the British government’s ruling coalition.

“I propose that the backstop should be replaced with a commitment to put in place … arrangements as far as possible before the end of the transition period, as part of the future relationship,” Johnson wrote in his letter to Tusk, according to Reuters. “Time is very short.”

In response, Tusk tweeted, “Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support re-establishing a border. Even if they do not admit it.”

The ongoing stalemate over the U.K.’s exit from the European Union has led to international concerns it could undermine the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended the Northern Ireland conflict and created a demilitarized border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Both House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLawmakers outline proposals for virtual voting Mattis defends Pentagon IG removed by Trump Overnight Health Care: Trump calls report on hospital shortages 'another fake dossier' | Trump weighs freezing funding to WHO | NY sees another 731 deaths | States battle for supplies | McConnell, Schumer headed for clash MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) have warned against a Brexit deal that alters the landmark agreement.

"In this, I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the bi-partisan, bi-cameral supporters of the Good Friday Agreement (and opponents of a return to a hard border), especially including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and will do all in my power to work in a bi-partisan way to prevent such pact from receiving the approval of Congress," Schumer wrote Monday.