UK PM May to visit Germany for Brexit talks with Merkel

May is in Berlin Wednesday for talks with Merkel.

But Merkel said that while the general issue of the impending Brexit would be broached, neither formal nor informal negotiations on the subject could begin until Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty - which officially kicks off the exit process and opens a two-year window for exit negotiations - was triggered.

Merkel and many British and European Union politicians have urged London to hasten its move to end its more than 40-year European Union membership so as to minimize the uncertainty caused by last month's vote.

"So it's good that we start from such a strong foundation and a position where both our countries believe in liberal markets and free trade and these should be the principles that guide us in the discussions ahead".

"It's not as if the British prime minister will in future sit at the EU Council table", Merkel said.

Mrs Merkel said: "No, I have to answer the..." before trailing off and starting again in German.

In a statement, a Downing Street spokesperson said: "The President of the European Council Donald Tusk called the Prime Minister yesterday evening to congratulate her on her appointment".

"We are not walking away from European friends, and Germany will remain a vital partner, and special friend for us", May said at the press conference.

"It is absolutely understandable that a few days after a new government has been formed in Great Britain, this new government has to consider what their interests are, and they are going to discuss this in Great Britain", she said.

"May has this reputation as a tough negotiator who says what she wants and wants what she says".

A key sticking point in the Brexit negotiations is likely to be the freedom of European Union citizens to live and work throughout the bloc.

Commentators have drawn comparisons between Merkel and May: both pastors' daughters with low-profile husbands, no children and a love of Alpine hiking, who rose to become leaders of centre-right parties.

May can expect today an even firmer push for a Brexit timetable when she meets French president François Hollande today in Paris, determined that Britain is made an example of over its departure.

May will find out Thursday whether France feels the same way when she visits Paris for her first meeting with Hollande.

She said "it's only then that negotiations for the exit can take place".

"Finally, the Prime Minister explained that we will need to carefully prepare for the negotiations to leave the European Union before triggering Article 50". "It is a matter of common concern when Britain applies the exit with a very well-defined negotiating position", she said.

She also stressed that Britain should not be limited by focusing exclusively on its relationship with its European neighbors but should instead look to build ties throughout the world.

"We have two women here... who want to get on with the job and want to deliver the best possible results for the people of the U.K and the people of Germany", May said as she stood by Merkel's side in front of the concrete and glass of the postmodern German Chancellery building.

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