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Hollande: UK Must Justify Any Delaying on EU Exit Talks

French President Francois Hollande (R) is greeted by Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny after he arrives at Government Buildings in Dublin, Ireland, July 21, 2016.

French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday he wanted Britain to open talks fast on quitting the European Union and would seek explanation from British Prime Minister Theresa May for any foot-dragging.

Hollande, who is due to meet May in Paris later on Thursday, told a news conference during a visit to Ireland: "I will meet Theresa May tonight. That will be the opportunity to hear the arguments. What is the interest of delaying? I would like justifications."

The French leader, who was speaking in Dublin where he and Irish Prime minister Enda Kenny issued a joint statement urging rapid exit talks, also said he would confer with German leader Angela Merkel after his meeting with May.

There should be no pre-negotiations before full and formal exit talks, he said.