Irish new PM discusses ties with British, US leaders over phone

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/6/28 9:34:22

Irish new Prime Minister Leo Varadkar held separate phone talks on Tuesday with US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

In mid June, the Dail Eireann, lower house of Irish parliament, voted to elect Varadkar as taoiseach (prime minister), making him the youngest taoiseach in the history of the country at just 38 years of age.

In talks with US President Trump, both discussed migration, Brexit, climate change, free trade, and the undocumented Irish people in the United States, according to a statement from the Irish government.

They also discussed the peace process in Northern Ireland, the statement said.

During their talks, Trump congratulated Varadkar on his recent election as leader of Fine Gael (United Ireland Party) and his appointment as taoiseach. Trump invited the taoiseach to attend the annual St. Patrick's Day events in Washington next March and both leaders looked forward to meeting in person then. They agreed to continue strong cooperation between Ireland and the United States on economic issues, shared culture, and family ties.

The Irish government statement said Varadkar also held a call with British Prime Minister May.

The two prime ministers discussed the ongoing efforts to restore the executive in Northern Ireland ahead of Thursday's deadline, and the supply and confidence agreement between the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

On Monday, the DUP, a unionist political party in Northern Ireland, signed an agreement with the Conservatives to support May's minority government.

Monday's agreement may yet impact on a June 29 deadline for the DUP and Sinn Fein, the pro-republican party in Northern Ireland, to bury their differences to enable the reestablishment of the devolved assembly in Belfast.

Failure by the political parties in Northern Ireland to agree to setting up an executive by 4 p.m. Thursday could lead to rule of the region reverting to Westminster.

The Northern Ireland Executive is the administrative branch of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the devolved legislature for Northern Ireland. It consists of the first minister and deputy first minister and various ministers with individual portfolios and remits.

In March's Assembly elections in Northern Ireland, the DUP emerged for the first time ever without a majority, with Sinn Fein making massive gains. Sinn Fein reduced the margin to just one seat, winning 27 assembly seats, just one less than the 28 won by the DUP.

Under Northern Ireland's power-sharing agreement, the government there must be run by Irish nationalists and unionists together.


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