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Spotlight: British Brexit Secretary resigns as EU to finalize Brexit agreement
BY 2018-11-16 07:42:09

BRUSSELS, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned on Thursday as the Euopean Union (EU) is set to hold a special meeting to finalize the Brexit agreement.


Assuming the position in July, Raab said that he "cannot in good conscience support" the draft Brexit agreement between London and Brussels.


Shortly before Raab's resignation, European Council President Donald Tusk said that the EU will hold a European Council meeting to "finalize and formalize the Brexit agreement," which "will take place on Sunday 25th November at 9:30."


Referring Brexit as a lose-lose situation, Tusk praised the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his team for doing the "exceptionally hard work."


The Brexit agreement is now being analyzed by all the member states. By the end of this week, 27 ambassadors for the EU member states will meet to share their assessment of the agreement, said the president.


"I hope that there will not be too many comments. They will also discuss the mandate for the Commission to finalize the Joint Political Declaration about the future relations between the EU and the UK," he said.


With the European ministers involved in this process, Tusk said, the Commission intends to agree on the declaration about its future with Britain by Tuesday. "Over the following 48 hours, the member states will have time to evaluate it," he added.


On Wednesday, Barnier said the EU and Britain have made decisive steps to end Brexit negotiations, sending a clear signal for an upcoming special summit later this month.


"We have reached a crucial stage, an important moment in this extraordinary negotiation," said Barnier in a press conference following British cabinet's approval of the draft Brexit deal.


Shortly after Barnier's press conference, the French and German governments said they welcomed the decisive progress made in Brexit negotiations, while warning that there is still a long way to go.


"We welcome the substantial progress obtained thanks to the work Michel Barnier has accomplished for more than a year," Nathalie Loiseau, France's EU affairs minister, told European media Politico.


"France ... is examining very carefully the draft agreement," said Loiseau.


"We want a good text which will painstakingly make sure that the interests of the EU are respected. We will be particularly vigilant when it comes to maintaining the conditions of fair competition," Politico quoted him as saying.


Meanwhile, Germany is "very relieved" to hear of the Brexit deal, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a statement.


"After months of uncertainty we finally have a clear signal from Britain of how their departure can be carried out in an orderly manner. There is still a long way to go, however," said the statement.


"Britain's exit from the EU is and remains regrettable. Despite that, we want to retain the closest possible links with our British friends," read the statement.


British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to make a full statement to the House of Commons on Thursday. Hours before the crucial speech, May suffered the resignation of Shailesh Vara who quit as a junior minister in the Northern Ireland office.


In his letter to the prime minister, Vara said the deal was a "half-way house" which did not allow Britain to become a "sovereign, independent country leaving the shackles of the EU."


The next 24 hours would also determine whether May could face a vote of no-confidence among her Conservative ranks in the House of Commons.


(Editor:Li Zhaoqi) (From:xinhua)
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