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The Latest: N Ireland party condemns UK leader’s Brexit plan

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa may make a statement to say Brexit deal approval is within our grasp-AP

BRUSSELS — The Latest on Brexit negotiations (all times local):

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2:45 p.m.

The deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland has used a party conference speech to try to persuade Prime Minister Theresa May to change course on Brexit.

Nigel Dodds told the conference in Belfast Saturday that it is not too late for May to alter her Brexit plan.

He says her proposed Brexit agreement reached with the European Union would leave the U.K. in a “pitiful and pathetic place.”

The small DUP has an outsize role because its support has been crucial to May’s shaky government, which doesn’t enjoy a majority in Parliament.

The party is threatening to end its support over the Brexit plan favored by May. That would imperil May’s already difficult challenge in winning parliamentary support for her proposal.

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2:20 p.m.

Portugal’s foreign minister is in support of the Brexit deal including Spain’s request to have its say on the future of the disputed British territory of Gibraltar.

Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva says that the original Brexit guidelines laid out last year that included assurances to Spain that it could deal with London directly on the issue of Gibraltar were “wise.”

Spain said Friday it wouldn’t back the divorce deal U.K. and European Union leaders are supposed to vote on during Sunday’s summit in Brussels after language regarding Gibraltar didn’t appear in a draft agreement.

Santos Silva says the impasse has an “easy resolution because the heads of state of the 27 had already agreed (.) that any agreement between the U.K. and the EU regarding Gibraltar would require previous agreement from Spain, and that appears to be a very wise line.”

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11:05 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is kicking off a big Brexit weekend as she travels to the European Union headquarters in Brussels for talks on Saturday with key leaders.

Spanish objections over the status of Gibraltar — the tiny territory ceded to Britain in 1713 but is still claimed by Spain — is the only dispute left hanging ahead of Sunday’s summit of EU leaders.

May will meet with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Council President Donald Tusk in the evening.

May hopes to leave Brussels on Sunday with a firm agreement on the withdrawal terms for Britain’s departure from the EU on March 29, as well as a comprehensive negotiating text on how future relations should look like once both sides agree on a trade agreement.

AP

24/11/2018

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