Irish, British PMs to meet to talk Brexit, N.Ireland crisis

"The risk is that Northern Ireland continues to fail to find solutions, and potentially the peace process unwinds", he told AFP.

Northern Ireland's frontier with the Republic of Ireland will be the UK's only land border with the European Union after Brexit.

May has said the divorce talks, likely to be the most complex in Europe since World War II, will begin as planned next week and her Brexit minister, David Davis, said Britain's negotiating position was unchanged.

"And the question arises, if they cease to be seen as such by part of the community in Northern Ireland, then one can't be quite certain how events will unwind".

Ahead of the meeting with May, Sinn Fein Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill said that any deal between the Conservatives and the DUP in Westminster can not be allowed to stand in the way of the Good Friday Agreement, which sets out the power-sharing process in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland-based DUP won 10 seats.

Both parties are committed to a strengthening British unity, delivering Brexit, combating terrorism, and delivering prosperity, the source said, adding however that "at the moment there isn't a deal".

Meanwhile, Foster has assured Ireland's new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, that she wants a "sensible Brexit" that works for both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

The Democratic Unionist party has said it will act as a "brace against hard austerity" in its deal with the Conservatives, as rebel Tory MPs suggested that they could torpedo unpopular policies by tacitly backing Labour amendments to the Queen's speech.

According to ITV's Robert Peston, a source within the DUP "was very keen to be quoted" as saying that his party "completely backs [May's] vision of Brexit" - and not that of her Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond.

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement commits the United Kingdom and Irish Governments to demonstrate "rigorous impartiality" in all their dealings with the different groups in Northern Ireland.

He said: "Any deal which undercuts in any way the process here or the Good Friday and the other agreements is one which has to be opposed by progressives".

Before the Mansion House dinner was cancelled because of the fire, finance minister Hammond had been due to tackle fears among the financial elite that May's insistence that "no deal is better than a bad deal" would cost them business.

However, the survey was conducted at the end of previous year, just prior to the collapse of devolution and two polarising elections which have seem tribal politics come to the fore and seen both the DUP and Sinn Fein consolidate their positions as the lead parties of unionism and nationalism respectively.

Whatever her ultimate plan, she will be heavily reliant upon the 10 lawmakers from the eurosceptic DUP, who would help her edge past the 326 votes needed in parliament to avoid the government collapsing.

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