Ireland's Coveney: UK mood music on N. Ireland has changed

FILE PHOTO: Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney attends a news conference ahead of a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., April 19, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

DUBLIN (Reuters) -Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Wednesday that the "mood music" from the British government over resolving issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol had changed fundamentally ahead of talks resuming this week.

British and EU officials will hold their first talks in over seven months this week on the protocol, the part of the Brexit deal that governs the trading arrangements of the British province.

Since formal discussions were last held in February, both sides have proceeded with legal action against the other and Britain is pressing ahead with legislation that would unilaterally scrap key parts of the protocol.

"Both sides have agreed to engage this week, this is a very welcome change of course that the British government is engaging now seriously as opposed to moving ahead with unilateral action," Coveney told reporters.

"It remains to be seen whether this new look British government is willing to make compromises to get a deal done but certainly the mood music has changed quite fundamentally, we welcome that and we will work on not only relationships to rebuild trust but also work on solutions in a practical way."

Coveney said he would meet British foreign minister James Cleverly, who took up his post last month under new Prime Minister Liz Truss, for dinner in London on Thursday ahead of a British-Irish intergovernmental conference on Friday.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin, Writing by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Kate Holton)

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