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05:50, 21 March 2018 Wednesday
Update: 09:19, 06 December 2017 Wednesday

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Spanish prime minister backs progress in Brexit talks
Spanish prime minister backs progress in Brexit talks

Mariano Rajoy says next stage of negotiations should begin quickly

World Bulletin / News Desk

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Tuesday said he expected Brexit negotiations to move to the next stage as soon as possible, according to a statement from the U.K. government.

Rajoy met Prime Minister Theresa May in London after a plan to open talks on a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU was blocked by May’s parliamentary allies.

The statement said Rajoy “shared the desire to move talks on to the next stage of negotiations as quickly as possible”.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which backs May’s Conservative Party, rejected an agreement between London and Dublin to retain EU rules in Northern Ireland as a way of resolving the border issues between the U.K.’s Irish territory and the Republic of Ireland.

May gave Rajoy an update on negotiations for Britain’s exit from the EU and confirmed that talks with the European Commission would resume by the end of the week, the statement added.

“She said both sides were positive about the progress that could be made ahead of December's European Council.”

The leaders of 27 EU countries are due to convene on Dec. 14 to discuss whether the negotiations have seen enough progress for the second phase, which will shape Britain’s future relations with the union, to proceed.

The U.K. reiterated its support for the Spanish government on the issue of Catalonia during the leaders’ meeting. “The rule of law must be upheld and the Spanish constitution respected,” May said.

According to the statement, the prime ministers also spoke about the threat from Russia, increasing counter-terrorism co-operation and efforts to repatriate people smuggled to Europe from Libya.

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