Simon Coveney and Michel Barnier discuss Irish border

Sajid Javid met Shah Mahmood Qureshi Pakistan’s foreign minister yesterday in Islamabad. They discussed security terrorism and measures to fight corruption

"We can also clarify that most checks can take place away from the border, at the company premises or in the market". Having dismissed technology as magical thinking for the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland it is suddenly okay for the border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Britain has been told it must "rework" its proposals on the Irish border as the Brexit negotiations enter a "decisive phase".

"What I'm not going to do is to say that I would refuse to entertain any further proposals that the EU comes up with but they've got to be respecting the equities that we've set out", he told correspondents from European newspapers including Germany's Die Welt, France's Le Monde and the Irish Times.

A Whitehall source said: "They are clearly accepting that their original solution doesn't work, which is good news, because it means they are considering alternatives and it suggests they will ultimately compromise".

The Chequers blueprint - a "common rulebook" for trade in goods and "business-friendly facilitated customs arrangement" - is the only way to resolve the thorny issue of the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, she said.

Yes. May and her vital allies in a pro-British Belfast party reject any border between two parts of the UK.

Part of the reason behind the Prime Minister's hopes that a Brexit deal could be reached, is that the European Union has said it wants to "de-dramatise" the Northern Ireland border issue, now one of the biggest sticking points in Brexit negotiations.

Before leaving for Brussels, Mr Coveney said he would "be making very clear our continued strong support for Michel Barnier, welcoming his approach on efforts to de-dramatise the backstop aimed at agreeing the text of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland".

Mrs May is expected to use the Salzburg summit to hold formal face-to-face talks with Belgian premier Charles Michel on Wednesday and Ireland's Leo Varadkar and Mr Tusk on Thursday.

He said it would be "technical checks", and not a border. He is also stressing that it may never be needed, assuming that the European Union and Britain will indeed agree a close trade agreement by 2020.

The leaders will then meet for a working lunch without United Kingdom represenatation on Thursday for a discussion over their Brexit strategy with Barnier.

May must survive criticism of her plans from hardline Brexit supporters at her Conservative Party conference early next month and then diplomats expect Barnier to unveil new draft terms.

But the need for a separate Brexit summit in November has been raised in recent weeks as the two sides struggled to reach consensus on outstanding issues despite an intensification of talks.

With six months to go until Britain leaves the European Union in March, major differences remain between the two sides.

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