DUBLIN (Reuters) – The coronavirus pandemic has made an already difficult timeline for a British-European Union trade deal “virtually impossible”, Ireland’s foreign minister said, cautioning that he did wish to raise expectations of London seeking more time.

“Given the complexity of what we’re trying to deal with here and the added complications, and there are many, as a result COVID-19, it surely makes sense for us to seek a bit more time,” Simon Coveney told an online conference on Friday.

“I think anybody looking at this from the outside could only conclude it makes sense to look for more time but I wouldn’t be raising expectations to the British government agreeing to seek more time … COVID-19 has made what is already a very, very difficult timeline to get agreement virtually impossible.”

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Alison Williams

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