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UK's PM Johnson says Brexit deal failure still 'most likely'

UK's PM Johnson says Brexit deal failure still 'most likely'

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures outside 10 Downing Street in London, Dec 10, 2020. (Photo: AP/Frank Augstein)

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday (Dec 13) he still hoped for a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union but that failure remains the "most likely" outcome.

"I'm afraid we're still very far apart on some key things, but where there is life, there's hope, we're going to keep talking to see what we can do. The UK certainly won't be walking away from the talks," Johnson told reporters.

"I've got to repeat the most likely thing now is of course that we have to get ready for WTO terms, Australia terms."

Johnson added that a deal was there to be done if the EU wanted one. He said Britain would go the extra mile and repeated his offer to speak to other EU leaders.

"We are always happy to talk and to make progress where we can. I do think, as I say, there is a deal to be done if our partners want to do it, but we remain very far apart on these key issues," Johnson said.

"I repeated my offer, which is, if it's necessary to talk to other capitals then I'm very happy to do that. The Commission is very determined to keep the negotiations on the way that they have been done, between us and the Commission, and that's fine."

READ: UK, EU say talks will continue on post-Brexit trade deal

Earlier on Sunday, Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed to continue post-Brexit trade talks in search of an elusive deal.

"We had a useful phone call this morning," they said, in a joint statement that von der Leyen read out on EU television. "We discussed the major unresolved topics.

"After almost a year of negotiations, despite the fact that deadlines have been missed over and over we think it is responsible at this point to go the extra mile.

"We have accordingly mandated our negotiators to continue the talks and to see whether an agreement can even at this late stage be reached."

Britain quit the EU in January but remains an informal member until Dec 31 - the end of a transition period during which it has remained in the EU single market and customs union.

Source: AGENCIES/dv

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