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No Brexit 'deal in the desert' as leaders meet


Mr Varadkar and Mrs May Photo: Maxwells

Mr Varadkar and Mrs May Photo: Maxwells

Mr Varadkar and Mrs May Photo: Maxwells

A so-called Brexit 'deal in the dessert' is being ruled out as the Europe's leadership including British Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar decamp to Egypt today.

Amid heavy security in the troubled country, prime ministers from across EU and the Arab League of States have gathered for a first of its kind summit. Brexit is not on the agenda but with Mr Varadkar and Mrs May both in attendance they will be vying for the attention of other EU leaders.

Mrs May is expected to meet with EU Council President Donald Tusk on the fringes of the conference to discuss her proposed changes on the Irish backstop. However, sources have ruled out a "deal in the dessert".

Ahead of arriving in Sharm El-Sheiki, Mr Varadkar said: "While Brexit is not on the agenda for the Summit, the event will provide me with the opportunity to discuss latest developments with many of my EU counterparts who will be in attendance."

The main purpose of the two-day summit is for leaders to consider how to strengthen cooperation on issues of mutual interest including multilateralism, regional peace and stability, migration, human rights, counter-terrorism, trade, economic development and climate action.

The Taoiseach will make a formal statement during the plenary sessions. It is expected he will canvass support for Ireland's bid to win a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in June 2020 for the 2021-2022 term.

The League of Arab States is the only pan-Arab grouping gathering all Arab countries and includes 22 states.

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