© Reuters. British PM Johnson visits Northern Ireland

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that a decision to unilaterally extend the grace periods for the implementation of parts of the Northern Irish Protocol was simply a technical decision aimed at being fair.

“We haven’t seen the EU’s letter yet, but I think what I would say to our friends in Brussels is very simple. The protocol is there to uphold and to guarantee, to buttress the Good Friday Agreement, the peace process,” Johnson said.

“That always had the symmetry in it: it was very very important that the wishes, the consent of both the communities in Northern Ireland, should be properly reflected in the outcome, and that it should guarantee, not just trade and movement, north, south; but east, west as well.”

“That’s all we’re trying to sort out with some temporary and technical measures which we think are very sensible, but obviously we’ll look forward to our discussions with our EU friends and see where we get to,” Johnson said.

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