DUBLIN, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Ireland welcomes the publication of Britain's position paper on Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the context of the Brexit negotiation process, according to a government statement on Wednesday.
The statement said both the Irish prime minister and the foreign minister have called for greater clarity from the British government on its approach to the negotiations, adding that publication of the new paper is "timely and helpful" in this regard.
"The emphasis on the priority areas identified by the government, including the Common Travel Area, the Good Friday Agreement, North/South cooperation and avoiding a hard border, is welcome.
"Protecting the peace process is crucial and it must not become a bargaining chip in the negotiations," it said.
The UK on Wednesday published its position paper on the post-Brexit arrangements for the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland ahead of the August negotiating round with the European Union (EU), saying that avoiding check points or any other physical infrastructure on the Irish border is the UK government's number one priority when negotiating post-Brexit arrangements for its only land frontier with the EU.
In the statement, Ireland said the government will analyze the paper in detail, along with the UK paper published on Tuesday on future customs arrangements.
"As these papers are inputs to the negotiation process between the UK and the EU27, the government will also engage closely with the European Commission, the Barnier Task Force and our EU27 partner Member States regarding them," it said.
"The immediate focus for the coming rounds of negotiations remains on advancing the issues identified for phase one of the negotiations, including citizens' rights and the financial settlement, as well as issues specific to Ireland," the statement said.
"The government remains hopeful that there will be sufficient progress on these issues to allow the necessary parallel discussions on the future relationship between the EU and the UK, including in relation to customs, to commence," it added.