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British and Irish leaders say there is a way to a possible deal

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) speaks to the media ahead of his meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings on September 9, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland.

Charles McQuillan | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The British pound rose sharply on Thursday following positive comments on Brexit from the leaders of Ireland and the UK

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar for further Brexit talks on Thursday afternoon, with subsequent comments prompting trading companies to buy the British pound.

Sterling rose to 1

.2267 against the US dollar at 3:20 p.m. London time after trading closer to $ 1.2218. It was up 0.5% against the greenback for the session.

"The Prime Minister (Johnson) and Taoiseach (Varadkar) have had a detailed and constructive discussion," the joint statement said.

"Both continue to believe that a deal is in everyone's interest. They agreed they could see a path to a possible deal."

The statement was also tweeted from the Twitter account linked to Irish leader Leo Varadkar .

Ireland is at the center of the Brexit debate as Britain has a land border on the Irish mainland between Northern Ireland and Ireland in the south. The Republic will remain in the European Union while Northern Ireland would leave because it is part of the United Kingdom.

Establishing a physical boundary between the two is problematic because it would conflict with a peace treaty, the Good Friday Agreement. This treaty was set up to help end a decades-long war that discovered Northern Irish Unionist groups and the British state against various factions of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

The backstop is an arrangement where Northern Ireland remains in the Customs Union – a common customs area – until a solution can be found to prevent the return of physical checks at the border.

Including the Irish backstop in all UK recall agreements has caught fire from opponents who see it as a way to capture Britain within Europe.

Watch now: No deal is the biggest risk we face

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