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Irish border: New draft Brexit agreement proposed Irish border: New draft Brexit agreement proposed
(about 1 hour later)
New language for a draft Brexit deal on the Irish border has been proposed in talks between the UK, Ireland and the EU Commission, the BBC understands.New language for a draft Brexit deal on the Irish border has been proposed in talks between the UK, Ireland and the EU Commission, the BBC understands.
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says she's been told it has been shared with the DUP, whose opposition on Monday led to talks breaking down. BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg says she has been told it has been shared with the DUP, whose opposition on Monday led to talks breaking down.
Another source told her the "dynamic is positive" but a government source says "we're not there yet". The EU Commission said talks would continue into the night, adding: "Tonight more than ever, stay tuned."
All sides want progress on the issue ahead of a crucial summit next week. But a UK government source said: "We're not there yet."
European Council President Donald Tusk is due to make a statement on Brexit on Friday morning, prompting speculation that a deal is closer. European Council President Donald Tusk is due to make a statement on Brexit at 0650 GMT on Friday, prompting speculation that a deal is close.
And European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas tweeted that talks would continue into the night adding: "We are making progress, but not yet fully there." European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas tweeted that: "We are making progress, but not yet fully there."
A Number 10 spokesman confirmed talks were ongoing.
All sides want progress on the issue ahead of a crucial summit next week, so talks can progress on to the future relationship between the UK and the EU after Brexit.
What happens to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has been among the key sticking points in Brexit negotiations.What happens to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has been among the key sticking points in Brexit negotiations.
On Monday, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - whose support the UK prime minister needs to win key votes in Westminster - objected to draft plans drawn up by the UK and the EU.On Monday, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) - whose support the UK prime minister needs to win key votes in Westminster - objected to draft plans drawn up by the UK and the EU.
The DUP said the proposals, which aimed to avoid border checks by aligning regulations on both sides of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, were not acceptable.The DUP said the proposals, which aimed to avoid border checks by aligning regulations on both sides of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, were not acceptable.
The party has said it will not accept any agreement in which Northern Ireland is treated differently from the rest of the UK.The party has said it will not accept any agreement in which Northern Ireland is treated differently from the rest of the UK.
The Republic of Ireland - which is an EU member - says it wants a guarantee that a hard border will not be put up after Brexit.The Republic of Ireland - which is an EU member - says it wants a guarantee that a hard border will not be put up after Brexit.
But there is no official confirmation of that and a UK government source said that the two sides were coming closer together but stressed that no agreement had been reached. On Thursday evening, a spokesman for the Irish government said matters were "being considered", but did not confirm whether a new form of text had been tabled by UK negotiators.
Earlier this afternoon a DUP source suggested there had been no breakthrough. But the Reuters news agency has quoted an Irish source suggesting a deal on the border is "very close".