Germany rules out informal Brexit talks, will wait for Britain to file notice

BERLIN, June 27 (UPI) — Germany has ruled out any informal talks on Great Britain leaving the European Union.

Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s spokesman, Steffen Seiber, said Monday it’s up to Britain to start the process by filing an Article 50 notice and “if the government needs a reasonable amount of time to do that, we respect that.”

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Foreign ministers from EU’s six founding members, meeting Saturday, had hopes for a quick exit by the United Kingdom.

“Only when Britain has made the request according to Article 50 will the European Council draw up guidelines in consensus for an exit agreement,” Seibert said.

Once Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon is invoked, it begins a two-year timetable to reach an exit deal.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced Friday he will step down by October, says he will leave it up to his successor to file the notice and begin the process.

Merkel was to meet Monday in Berlin with EU President Donald Tusk, then French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Merkel has said she “would not fight now for a short timeframe” for Brexit.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, a European Summit will take place in Brussels.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has flown to Belgium for talks. Kerry met with the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and then flies to London to meet with the British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond.

Cameron will brief leaders at dinner Tuesday night. He doesn’t plan to attend the second day of talks.

Britain’s Labor Party turmoil continued Monday with another five shadow ministers resigning, joining the 12 shadow cabinet ministers who quit the day before.

Jeremy Corbyn, head of Britain’s Labor Party, said he has no plans to resign but faces a possible no-confidence vote.

One the leaders of the Leave campaign, former London mayor Boris Johnson, tried to soothe British fears in an article in the Daily Telegraph.

“EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU. British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and settle down,” Johnson wrote.

He said the “negative consequences” of the exit are “wildly overdone.”

More than 3.2 million signatures are on a petition calling for a second EU referendum.

The House of Commons petitions committee is investigating fraud allegations. Already, 77,000 signatures have already been removed.

The UK voted Thursday by a 52-48 percent margin to leave the EU.

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