Germany's Maas skeptical on UK-Ireland talks solving Brexit deadlock

BERLIN, Jan 20 - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday it was unclear how any talks between Britain and Ireland on resolving the question of the Irish backstop could help the European Union's deal with London on Brexit.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is to set out her plans for Brexit on Monday after UK lawmakers rejected her deal with the EU last week, throwing the process into disarray. The United Kingdom is due to leave on March 29.

Asked by ZDF television about media reports on May's possible talks with the Irish government, Maas said the idea seemed "creative," but it was unclear how it would work.

"We have to negotiate and also agree a withdrawal agreement with Britain. It is a bit of a mystery to me what the British government wants to negotiate with Dublin or what sort of an additional agreement it should be," he told German television.

"It won't have any effect on what was agreed with the (European) Commission."

Maas also said it would be "very difficult" to renegotiate Britain's withdrawal agreement with the EU.

"All 27 members must agree. In the last few days there have been relatively clear statements that there are many who are not ready to and there are some that are open to it. We have to wait to see what the Britons suggest," he said.

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