Britain seeking Northern Ireland political deal ‘as soon as possible’

Prime Minister, Theresa May, waits to greet Democratic Unionist Party Leader Arlene Foster, in Downing Street, in central London

BELFAST (Reuters) – A number of issues remain outstanding between Northern Irish politicians ahead of a deadline to restore a power-sharing executive, Britain’s Northern Ireland minister said on Thursday, calling for a solution “as soon as possible”.

The province’s parties face a deadline of 1500 GMT (11.00 a.m. ET) to reach an agreement and James Brokenshire did not set a fresh time line for the talks.

Ireland’s foreign minister said negotiations would continue and that an agreement was still within reach.

“Much progress has been made but a number of issues remain outstanding. All efforts continue to be directed to provide for the restoration of devolved government as soon as possible. That prize remains achievable,” Brokenshire told reporters, without taking any questions.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin, editing by Ed Osmond)