Britain, EU can get Brexit deal that works for both sides: foreign secretary

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-07 20:59:26|Editor: ying
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ATHENS, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Britain and the European Union can reach an agreement on Brexit which will work for both sides, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said during a two-day visit here which ended Friday.

The British official held talks with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday and Greek Foreign Minister Alexis Kotzias on Thursday.

According to the Greek premier's office, the dialogue focused on bilateral relations, Cyprus peace talks and the course of negotiations between Britain and EU on Brexit as well as developments in the region, in particular the Syrian crisis.

"We may be leaving the European Union but we are not leaving Europe. I believe we can get a deal that works for both sides," Johnson said during a joint press briefing with Kotzias on Thursday after their meeting.

"With goodwill and imagination it could be done as fast as in two years. We do not want to close doors," the British official stressed when asked about the timetable of Brexit.

Britain wants to control immigration flows, not close the door on talented people who are helping the British economy and will examine the conditions of free movement of EU citizens during Brexit's implementation, Johnson said.

"We respect the decision of the British people and we want to form the best possible deal between the EU and the UK which will serve both sides with friendship, not vindictiveness," Kotzias said on his part.

"We want Britain's exit from the EU to be orderly and with a plan, in a way that the UK will remain as close as possible to the EU and with the best possible relations with other countries such as Greece. We want to minimize the losses from Britain's departure and maximize our opportunities," the Greek foreign minister underlined.

In the light of the latest developments in Syria, the two ministers urged for an end to the war.

"We are against unjust wars and terrorism and both countries have condemned in statements the deadly attack in Syria," Kotzias said referring to the recent alleged toxic gas attack with 80 casualties in Khan Sheikhun.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said early on Thursday that the Syrian airstrike on a rebel-held town in Idlib Province struck a rebel depot containing chemical materials, denying that the air force fired toxic gas during the attack.

The British Foreign Secretary and Greek officials ended their talks in Athens without commenting on the launch of a targeted missile strike by the U.S. military at a Syrian military airfield in the first direct assault on the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the Syrian crisis began six years ago.

The strike was ordered by U.S. President Donald Trump, according to a Pentagon announcement.