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UK minister suggests Brexit talks will go to November

France 24, Oct 10

The British minister in charge of Brexit negotiations on Tuesday played down hopes of a breakthrough at an EU summit next week, suggesting it will take until November to get a deal.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab also declined to say when the government plans to publish proposals on the Irish border, a key sticking point in the talks.

The Brussels meeting of EU leaders on October 18 "will be an important milestone, we expect that to be a moment where we will make some progress", he told MPs.

He added: "We've always been clear we would aim for the October council but there would be leeway, that it might slip into November. We're still clear on that."

Raab repeated a demand by Prime Minister Theresa May last month for the EU to give ground in the talks.

"It is quite right now to expect the EU to move in our direction and if they do match that ambition, if they do match that pragmatism (shown by London), I am confident that we can still reach a deal," he said.

The Brexit deal consists of a withdrawal agreement, which is being held up by a dispute over how to keep open Britain's land border with Ireland, and a political declaration on future trading ties.

Britain has put forward a trade plan that it says will resolve the Irish issue.

But at an informal summit in Salzburg, Austria, last month, European leaders rejected the proposal and demanded it be reworked by next week's meeting.

They have held out the possibility of a special November summit to seal the deal, but only if there is progress before then.

May's Europe advisor Olly Robbins is in Brussels this week as the two sides step up private negotiations in what some have called a "diplomatic tunnel" leading up to next week's summit.

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