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Britain’s new chief Brexit negotiator to hit Brussels for talks

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 Britain’s new head Brexit negotiator, David Frost is expected in Brussels for talks with senior EU officials on Wednesday and Thursday, a European Commission spokeswoman has confirmed.

Meetings with commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s head of cabinet, Clara Martinez Alberola and acting general secretary, Ilze Juhansone are scheduled, Annika Breithardt said.

Brexit hardliner Boris Johnson, a vocal critic of the withdrawal agreement Britain struck with the European Union under his predecessor Theresa May, took office as prime minister last week.

Frost is headed to Brussels to pass on the prime minister’s message in person that his country is leaving the EU on October 31, a British government spokesman said Wednesday.

“We will work energetically for a deal but the backstop must be abolished,’’ the spokesman said, referring to the clause in the Brexit divorce bill that guarantees an open Irish border.

Although, it is designed as a temporary, last resort measure, critics claim the backstop could impose an indefinite customs arrangement that would treat Northern Ireland slightly differently from Britain.

Johnson wants the EU to reopen negotiations on the withdrawal agreement, but the EU insists this option is not on the table.

The British premier says he will leave the bloc without a deal if no agreement can be found. (Dpa/NAN)

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