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Irish, UK PMs pledge to restore collapsed NI Assembly
Dublin, Dec 14 (IANS) Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and his British counterpart Boris Johnson have pledged to restore the Northern Ireland (NI) Assembly which has remained collapsed for nearly three years.
According to Irish media reports, the two leaders spoke on the phone on Friday during which Varadkar congratulated Johnson on winning Thursday’s general election with an overall majority, Xinhua news agency reported.
Both leaders also agreed that there was now a significant opportunity to restore the Good Friday Agreement institutions and pledged to work with the Northern Ireland parties to achieve this, an Irish government spokesman said.
The Good Friday Agreement is a 1998 deal that brought the troubles in Northern Ireland to an end.
They also discussed how to strengthen the bilateral ties between Ireland and Britain, the spokesman said, adding that the two leaders looked forward to the smooth passage of the Withdrawal Agreement and agreed to stay in close contact in the period ahead.
Northern Ireland is a part of Britain. The Assembly is the region’s top legislature which also has the power to appoint its top executive body.
The assembly has virtually stopped functioning since January 2017 due to policy disagreements between members of different political parties.
Earlier on Friday, Varadkar called on all the sides in Northern Ireland to restore its Assembly by a deadline of January 13, 2020.