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DUP leader Arlene Foster warns against 'zero sum' approach to Irish border

DUP leader Arlene Foster has warned against a "zero sum" approach to the Irish border, as negotiations between the UK and the EU in the current round of Brexit talks reach their final stage.

Ms Foster made the remarks in a speech to party members yesterday evening.

She said: "Those who have allowed this to become some sort of zero sum game, framing it as a mutually exclusive choice between maintaining the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK and continued close cross-border relations, do us all a great disservice.

"It is up to all of us who want to see a sensible Brexit to face up to the challenge and craft a solution that works for Northern Ireland."

She added: "Northern Ireland manufacturing sales to Great Britain are worth six times more than those to the Irish Republic.

"It makes no sense whatsoever to move the border to the Irish Sea and make trade with our biggest market - the rest of the United Kingdom - more difficult."

Officials from the Republic of Ireland and the UK have been engaged in a series of talks about the future of the Irish border once the UK leaves the EU.

Both nations have said they are committed to preventing a hard border, but have been unable to agree on proposals as to how this could be achieved.

Nationalist political parties in Northern Ireland have backed giving the region a form of "special status" to allow it to remain in the customs union and single market and thereby reduce the likelihood of border controls or regulations.

However, the DUP have rejected this on the grounds that they will not accept Northern Ireland being treated any differently from the rest of the UK in the final Brexit deal.