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N Ireland sees no return to devolved govt for months


REUTERS
LONDON
The leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Arlene Foster, said on Thursday she saw little chance of a return to devolved government in the British province in the coming weeks or months.
The province has been without a devolved executive for over a year since Irish nationalists Sinn Fein withdrew from the compulsory power-sharing government with the DUP, their arch-rivals.
The executive is central to a 1998 peace deal that ended three decades of violence.
"For this past 13 months we have been unable to form a devolved government. I really regret that," Foster said in a speech to the British Chambers of Commerce in London."Given everything that happened over the past couple of weeks, I see little prospect of it being returned in the coming weeks or months."
Foster, whose party supports Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government, added that she was disappointed that a return to violence in Northern Ireland had been raised in Brexit talks by those with little knowledge of the region.
Arrangements for the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic are one of the thorniest issues of Brexit talks. Britain's government has said it does not want a customs union with the EU, without which the EU says it would need to regulate Northern Ireland's trade to avoid a return of customs checks.

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