LIZ Truss last night warned Brussels "urgent progress" is needed in talks to end the Northern Ireland border stand-off.
The Foreign Secretary told EU boss Maros Sefcovic the situation is "very difficult" and must be resolved "in short order".
But after fresh negotiations at the bloc's HQ both sides played down suggestions they've set an end of February deadline.
Ms Truss said: "I'm absolutely determined to protect political stability and peace in Northern Ireland.
"We believe there is a deal to be done. We need to make as much progress as we can in the next few weeks."
Mr Sefcovic said an agreement that would "immediately and significantly" help Northern Irish people and businesses is within reach.
He urged No 10 to carry on showing "political good will" and not to revive threats to blow up the talks by triggering Article 16.
Instead he said negotiations "must stay laser-focused on practical challenges" around checks on goods going from GB to NI.
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