British Prime Minister Theresa May visits Northern Ireland in a bid to calm fears about the impact of the UK's vote to leave the European Union on the British province's peace process. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) British Prime Minister Theresa May said she did not want to return to "the borders of the past" in Northern Ireland as she made her first visit to the British province. The UK's vote on June 23 to leave the European Union has raised questions over the future of the open border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, which will become Britain's only land frontier with the bloc. Concerns have also been raised about the legal status of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which ended three decades of fighting between Catholic nationalists seeking a united Ireland and Protestant unionists who wanted to keep Northern Ireland British. Over 3,600 died in the conflict. "Nobody wants to return to the borders of the past. What we do want to do is to find a way through this that is going to work, deliver a practical solution for everybody, as part of the work that we're doing to ensure that we make a success of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union and that we can come out of this with a deal that is in the interest of the whole of the United Kingdom," May said in a statement after meeting the province's first minister Arlene Foster and deputy first minister Martin McGuinness. May has said that details of future Irish border arrangements will hinge on the outcome of Brexit talks with Brussels. But she noted that there had been a common travel area with the Irish Republic since the 1920s. Northern Ireland voted to stay in the EU, with 56 percent voting 'Remain', putting it at odds with the United Kingdom's 52-48 percent result in favour of leaving. McGuinness, a former Irish Republican Army commander who campaigned to remain, has demanded a referendum on Northern Ireland splitting from the United Kingdom to remain in the European Union as part of a united Ireland, a call rejected by the British government. Foster campaigned for Britain to leave the EU in the lead up to the referendum. Leaders north and south of the Irish border want to ensure that people and goods can continue to cross freely, as well as maintaining decades of open travel and trade across the Irish Sea that predate the countries' simultaneous accession to the EU in 1973. May is due to host Irish Prime Minster Enda Kenny for talks in London on Tuesday (July 26), her spokeswoman said.