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    UK Brexit Secretary Says Agreed With EU's Barnier to Speed Up Negotiations

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab said Tuesday at a joint press conference with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier that the two officials had agreed to drive UK-EU talks and to meet regularly.

    "We agreed that we need to step up the intensity of the negotiation, as we come into the final phase, and we've agreed to meet regularly," Raab said.

    Raab added that the two sides would resolve the remaining issues on the political level.

    "I'm pleased that, with Michel, we've agreed to meet next week, I hope for longer, on all of those issues. And I think it's absolutely vital. There are still gaps, and we had an honest conversation about those," Raab said.

    The deadline for the final decision on the departure terms and the political declaration on those could be calculated by counting backward from the exit date, March 30, "the day on which the United Kingdom will no longer be a member of the European Union, whilst remaining if we reach an agreement, for 21 months in the single market and the customs union," Barnier pointed out.

    According to the chief EU negotiator, it is necessary to take into consideration the time required for ratification of the deal, on both sides.

    "That takes us for the final decision on the withdrawal agreement and the political declaration well before the end of the year. I'm not gonna say October, a few days here, beginning of November, but not much later than that, certainly," Barnier said.

    READ MORE: UK Foreign Secretary: No-Deal Brexit Will be Geo-Strategic Mistake for Europe

    Last week, the two sides met for technical talks on Brexit terms, including the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which remains one of the central issues.

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    Brexit negotiations, Brexit Trade Bill, Brexit, EU, Michel Barnier, Dominic Raab, United Kingdom
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