UK Brexit minister Lord Frost visits Northern Ireland
UK Brexit minister Lord David Frost said the Northern Ireland Protocol is "presenting significant challenges for many" as he visited the north.
Accompanied by secretary of state Brandon Lewis, he met with a number of business and community representatives to hear about difficulties in the operation of the Protocol and the consequent disruption.
During the two-day unannounced visit, he also travelled to Larne Port to see how checks and controls under the Protocol are currently being operated.
Lord Frost said it was "clear from my visit that the Protocol is presenting significant challenges for many in Northern Ireland".
"Businesses have gone to extraordinary efforts to make the current requirements work, but it is hard to see that the way the Protocol is currently operating can be sustainable for long," he said.
"We’re committed to working through the issues with the EU urgently and in good faith.
"I hope they will take a common sense, risk-based approach that enables us to agree a pragmatic way forward that substantially eases the burdens on Northern Ireland.
“Solutions must be found rapidly in order to protect the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement in all its dimensions and to minimise disruption to the everyday lives of people in Northern Ireland - as the Protocol itself requires.
"As the Prime Minister has made clear, we will continue to consider all our options in meeting our overriding responsibility for sustaining the peace and prosperity of everyone in Northern Ireland."
Mr Lewis added: "It is vital that the experiences, opportunities and challenges faced by people and Northern Ireland are understood and at the heart of our approach.
"I will continue these constructive and practical discussions in the weeks ahead, supporting Northern Ireland’s business needs and minimising the risk of disruptions at a crucial time."