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    Le Pen: EU's Brexit Deal Conditions Could Trigger New Irish Conflict

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Leader of the French right-wing National Rally (RN) political party Marine Le Pen said on Sunday that the European Union was seeking to re-ignite conflict in Northern Ireland by its proposed conditions regarding the Brexit deal.

    "The European Union, in fact, is trying to unleash, in a certain form, a civil war in Ireland […] to resume the conflict that existed in Ireland", Le Pen told the BFMTV broadcaster.

    Le Pen noted that the European Union aimed at making the divorce as painful as possible. She, nevertheless, stressed that it could become much more problematic for Brussels itself rather than for London.

    The Irish border issue has been the stumbling block in the EU-UK Brexit talks. Both sides have been seeking to avoid the hard border on the island of Ireland, expressing concerns that it may shatter the hard-won peace in the region. In November, Brussels and London agreed on the Brexit deal, including the so-called backstop that would be put into practice if the sides failed to agree on all the terms of their relationship by the end of the Brexit transition period.

    READ MORE: Cache of Weapons Found in Woods Near N Irish Border as Brexit Fast Approaches

    The backstop would keep the United Kingdom in single customs territory with the bloc, while Northern Ireland would be aligned to some of the EU single market rules. The UK parliament, however, rejected the draft Brexit deal mainly due to the backstop earlier in January.

    On Friday, two people were reportedly wounded in separate paramilitary-style shootings in the UK city of Londonderry, located in Northern Ireland.

    Moreover, on 19 January, Londonderry faced a car bomb attack. The authorities suspected the New Irish Republican Army (New IRA) dissident paramilitary group of plotting the bomb and shooting attacks. The New IRA, which has been reportedly behind a number of attacks over the recent years, seeks a united Ireland and rejects Northern Ireland’s current political institutions.

    Local media have also reported, citing UK counter-terrorism officials, that they feared the group would use public concerns over the prospect of a hard border on the island of Ireland due to looming Brexit in their interests.

    READ MORE: Dissident New IRA Group Claims Attempted N Ireland Police Bombing

    Meanwhile, The Guardian has reported that hundreds of the British police officers were engaged in special drills in order to be rapidly dispatched to Northern Ireland to cover the possibility of unrest due to a disorderly UK withdrawal from the European Union.

    The likelihood of the no-deal Brexit has prompted involved states to engage in contingency planning. Irish media reported in early January that the country’s government would seek hundreds of millions of euros in special aid from the European Union if the United Kingdom withdraws from the bloc without a deal on 29 March.

    The Irish government fears harsh Brexit-related consequences for its trade due to the possibility of the establishment of the hard border on the island of Ireland after the withdrawal.

    READ MORE: Royal Marine Who Made Bombs for IRA Splinter Group Is Jailed

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    hard border, impasse, risks, Brexit, Marine Le Pen, EU, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, Ireland, France
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