UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that his country "won't be walking away" from the ongoing trade deal talks with the European Union after both sides agreed to extend negotiations on Sunday.
Johnson held a phone call with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen earlier in the day ahead of a self-imposed deadline for both sides to reach an agreement on whether a trade deal could be finalized before the end of the year. In a statement released on Sunday afternoon, von der Leyen confirmed that both sides had agreed to extend negotiations.
"The UK certainly won't be walking away from the talks. I think people will expect us to go the extra mile," Johnson said in an interview that was aired by the state-run BBC broadcaster.
Despite an agreement being found to extend the talks, the European Union and the United Kingdom continue to disagree on several areas, the prime minister added.
"As things stand, and this was basically what Ursula and I agreed, I'm afraid we're still very far apart on some key things, but where there's life, there's hope," Johnson remarked.
The 11-month Brexit transition period, which came into effect after the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31, is set to expire at the end of the year.
London and Brussels have looked to conclude a free trade deal before the transition period expires, although both sides have disagreed over governance, fishing rights, and the set of rules and procedures designed to prevent businesses undercutting their rivals in another country.