BELFAST (Reuters) - Ireland's foreign minister said it is possible that Britain and the European Union could resolve their long running post-Brexit trade row over Northern Ireland by the end of the year if both sides are willing to compromise.
Talks recently resumed for the first time in seven months on the Northern Ireland protocol, the part of the Brexit deal that mandated checks on some goods moving to Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom due to its open land border with EU member Ireland.
"The EU has said on a number of occasions they would like to have these issues resolved by the end of the year and I think it's possible to do that if there is a political appetite on both sides to make that happen," Coveney told reporters on Wednesday.
Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin later on Wednesday said he was "very encouraged" by conversations he had had on the Northern Ireland protocol with new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who took office last week.
"I am persuaded that he understands that we urgently need to find a way back to an agenda defined by growth and cooperation," Martin said in a lecture at Oxford University, according to a transcript provided by his office.
(Reporting by Amanda Ferguson, writing by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Alistair Smout and Jonathan Oatis)