Fresh ‘Brexit’ talks launched

Bit­ter in­fight­ing grips UK govt

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

BRUS­SELS, July 17, (Agen­cies): Bri­tain and the EU vowed to get to the “heart of the mat­ter” as they launched fresh Brexit talks in Brus­sels on Mon­day, even as bit­ter in­fight­ing gripped the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment.

Brexit min­is­ter David Davis met EU ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier for a sec­ond round of talks ahead of Bri­tain’s his­toric with­drawal from the bloc, sched­uled for March 2019.

But in Lon­don there was fresh tur­moil as weak­ened Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May pre­pared to urge her war­ring min­is­ters to end dam­ag­ing leaks against each other over Brexit.

“Now it’s time to get down to work and make this a suc­cess­ful ne­go­ti­a­tion,” Davis told re­porters as Barnier wel­comed him to the head­quar­ters of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion.

Dur­ing four days of talks the two sides hope to make progress on key is­sues sur­round­ing Bri­tain’s with­drawal, in­clud­ing cit­i­zens’ rights and its exit bill, so that ne­go­ti­a­tions can move on to dis­cuss a fu­ture trade deal later this year.

“For us it’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant we now make good progress, that we ne­go­ti­ate through this and iden­tify the dif­fer­ences so we can deal with them and iden­tify the sim­i­lar­i­ties so that we can re­in­force them,” added Davis.

Barnier, who has re­peat­edly called on Bri­tain to set out a full di­vorce strat­egy, said they needed to “ex­am­ine and com­pare our re­spec­tive po­si­tions in or­der to make good progress.”

“We’ll now delve into the heart of

it’s in the process of leav­ing.

Af­ter ar­riv­ing at War­saw’s air­port, they were driven in a mo­tor­cade to meet Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda and First Lady Agata the mat­ter,” Barnier, a for­mer French for­eign min­is­ter and Euro­pean Com­mis­sioner, told re­porters.

Davis how­ever stayed only a few hours be­fore re­turn­ing to Bri­tain for par­lia­men­tary busi­ness, of­fi­cials said. He will come back to Brus­sels on Thurs­day for more talks with Barnier and a news con­fer­ence.

Pho­tographs of the brief meet­ing showed grim-faced EU ne­go­tia­tors with large sheaves of pa­per across a ta­ble from a grin­ning, empty handed Bri­tish team.

Or­der

Mean­while, May will seek to reim­pose or­der on her min­is­ters af­ter a se­ries of dam­ag­ing leaks point­ing to cab­i­net splits on Brexit, her spokesman said Mon­day.

The Con­ser­va­tive leader will use Tues­day’s reg­u­lar cab­i­net meet­ing to “re­mind” col­leagues to keep their dis­cus­sions pri­vate and urge them to fo­cus on the job of gov­ern­ment, he said.

Ahead of the re­sump­tion of key Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions in Brus­sels on Mon­day, the week­end news­pa­pers were filled with sto­ries about war­ring min­is­ters, as well as leaks tar­get­ing Finance Min­is­ter Philip Ham­mond.

“Cab­i­net must be able to hold dis­cus­sions on gov­ern­ment pol­icy in pri­vate and the prime min­is­ter will be re­mind­ing her col­leagues of that at the cab­i­net meet­ing to­mor­row,” May’s spokesman said.

“She will just be re­mind­ing them of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties,” he said, adding

Korn­hauser-Duda at the Pres­i­den­tial Palace for lunch.

Ac­cord­ing to the Pol­ish hosts, the sched­ule of this “re­spect and friend­ship” visit that each min­is­ter’s job is to fo­cus “on de­liv­er­ing for the Bri­tish public.”

Ham­mond hit back Sun­day, blam­ing the “noise” on ri­vals who dis­agreed with his po­si­tion that Bri­tain must be care­ful to pri­ori­tise the econ­omy when it with­draws from the Euro­pean Union.

But his words seemed only to fuel the fire, with an un­named cab­i­net min­is­ter ac­cus­ing him in Mon­day’s Daily Tele­graph of try­ing to “frus­trate” Brexit.

“What’s re­ally go­ing on is that the es­tab­lish­ment, the Trea­sury, is try­ing to **** it up. They want to frus­trate Brexit,” the min­is­ter said.

“This is a crit­i­cal mo­ment. That’s why we have to keep Theresa there. Oth­er­wise the whole thing will fall apart.”

The min­is­ter said Ham­mond viewed Brexit sup­port­ers as “a bunch of smarmy pi­rates” who have “taken the es­tab­lish­ment pris­oner”.

In re­lated news, did David Davis for­get his notes? Or does he just have no ideas?

Pic­tures from Mon­day’s start of ne­go­ti­a­tions in Brus­sels that showed Bri­tain’s Brexit min­is­ter fac­ing his EU coun­ter­part without notes or pa­per­work prompted jibes from crit­ics who say a di­vided gov­ern­ment is woe­fully un­pre­pared for the process.

Bri­tish me­dia and Twit­ter com­men­ta­tors pounced on im­ages taken as Davis and his team sat down op­po­site the Euro­pean Union’s chief Brexit ne­go­tia­tor Michel Barnier; all three EU of­fi­cials had thick piles of pa­pers in front of them, while Davis, his lead ne­go­tia­tor and Bri­tain’s EU am­bas­sador had none.

in­cludes a walk in the Old Town, a visit to the 1944 War­saw Up­ris­ing Mu­seum, where the pair will mix with World War II vet­er­ans. They will then have a meet­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Pol­ish and Bri­tish busi­ness.

In the evening, Prince Wil­liam is to de­liver a speech dur­ing a re­cep­tion in the his­toric Lazienki Park in honor of his grand­mother, Queen El­iz­a­beth II. (AP)

Royal row­barge at an­nual fest:

Queen El­iz­a­beth II’s stately royal barge “Glo­ri­ana” found it­self shar­ing the River Thames with some quirky up­starts at the week­end — am­phibi­ous mo­tor cars.

As the row­barge — an or­nate, gold-leaf and crest-be­decked ves­sel pow­ered by 18 row­ers — oared its way down river like some­thing from a Canaletto paint­ing, a flotilla of small float­ing au­to­mo­biles putted by in the other di­rec­tion.

The poles-apart meet­ing took place at the Thames Tra­di­tional Boat Fes­ti­val in Faw­ley Meadows out­side Henley-onThames in south­ern Eng­land.

The an­nual fes­ti­val also at­tracted clinker-built row­ing boats, Ed­war­dian steam­boats, tra­di­tional slip­per launches, wooden ca­noes and an ar­mada of the “Lit­tle Ships” that braved the Chan­nel in 1940 to res­cue Bri­tish and al­lied forces at Dunkirk. (RTRS)

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