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Britain’s PM Meets Merkel, Hollande to Forge Relationships

  • VOA News

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and British Prime Minister Theresa May walk on the red carpet during a military welcoming ceremony at the chancellery in Berlin Wednesday, July 20, 2016, on May's first foreign trip after being named British prime minister.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and British Prime Minister Theresa May walk on the red carpet during a military welcoming ceremony at the chancellery in Berlin Wednesday, July 20, 2016, on May's first foreign trip after being named British prime minister.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel for discussions about Britain's exit from the European Union and other international issues.

In her first weekly prime minister's question session in the House of Commons earlier in the day, May announced she also plans to meet Thursday with French President Francois Hollande in Paris to help forge "the personal relations that will pave the way for open and frank discussions in the months ahead.''

"This afternoon, I will travel to Berlin to meet Chancellor Merkel to discuss how we implement the decision the British people took in the referendum," May said. "I expect we will also cover a number of other pressing international issues, and tomorrow I will visit Paris for similar discussions with President Hollande.”

May said she wanted to send a message to Britain's European allies that their “relationships have been vital in the past and they will be vital in the future.''

May said the Brexit referendum result showed people want controlled immigration from the European Union, adding it is necessary to “bring net migration down to sustainable levels.”

"I am very clear that the vote that was taken in this country on 23 June sent a very clear message about immigration — that people want control of free movement from the European Union and that is precisely what we will be doing and ensuring that we get in the negotiations," said May.

May said she remained committed to negotiate “the right deal and the best deal on trade in goods and services for the British people.''

She has also announced that Britain is relinquishing its turn at holding the EU presidency in the second half of 2017. Her office said the prime minister spoke Tuesday to European Council President Donald Tusk and told him Britain would give up the rotating six-month presidency to prioritize exit negotiations.

Last week, May replaced David Cameron, who resigned after Britons voted in the referendum of June 23 to leave the 28-nation European Union. He, as well as May, had backed the "Remain" in the bloc campaign.

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