The Latest: Ireland welcomes first EU draft for Brexit deal

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier waits for the start of a General Affairs, Article 50, meeting at the EU Council building in Brussels on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

LONDON - The Latest on Brexit negotiations (all times local):


Ireland has welcomed the European Union's first draft of a Brexit agreement but stands ready to discuss other options once Britain explains how it thinks trade and travel can be kept smooth across the Northern Ireland border.

The Irish government said Wednesday that the EU draft contains "the necessary legal provision to implement the backstop" that would avoid a hard border between Britain's territory and the EU member state.

Lacking input from Britain on border options, the text keeps Northern Ireland within the EU's customs union, creating a virtual border in the Irish Sea between the territory and mainland Britain.

Ireland said "we are looking forward to the further detail" which British Prime Minister Theresa May might provide at a speech planned for Friday.

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