German minister says Brexit deal is still best

BRUSSELS (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister says Berlin is willing to continue talks with Britain but is emphasizing the current Brexit agreement is the best one available.

Heiko Maas told the Funke newspaper group Wednesday it is important that British lawmakers have spoken out against a no-agreement departure from the European Union, saying that is in nobody’s interest.

But he called for clarity on how Britain wants to change the so-called “backstop,” the safeguard mechanism proposed to regulate the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland after Brexit.

He says Germany is open to talks, “but our position is clear: the withdrawal agreement is the best and only solution for an orderly exit. Regarding the backstop, Germany and the entire Union are firmly on Ireland’s side. We will not allow Ireland to be isolated on this issue.”