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Britain 'committed' to European security despite Brexit

AFP  |  London 

The British said today that it would continue its close cooperation with the European Union on security, months after suggesting security could be used as a bargaining chip in Brexit negotiations.

"What the is offering will be unprecedented in its breadth, taking in cooperation on diplomacy, defence, security and development, and depth, in terms of the degree of engagement that the and the should aim to deliver," the said in a policy paper.

"The is unconditionally committed to maintaining European security," it said.

The emphasised that "will continue to be the cornerstone" of its security upon leaving the in March 2019 but that would seek a UK-relationship that is "deeper than any third country partnership".

"The UK and the EU should have regular close consultations on foreign and security policy issues, with the option to agree joint positions on foreign policy issues," it said.

The Guardian newspaper said the latest paper "strikes a more positive note about EU defence and foreign policy matters than expected".

Prime Minister Theresa May warned in March -- after triggering Article 50 and starting the divorce proceedings -- that failing to reach a new trade deal once leaves the bloc could damage cooperation against crime and terrorism.

The government denied it was implying a threat, saying it was a fact that unless agreed to continue its security cooperation projects, including with the Europol law enforcement agency, then it would leave them after Brexit.

Speaking on BBC radio today, Defence Minister Michael Fallon said the paper "isn't a negotiating strategy".

"What we are doing -- and everybody has asked for this -- is to set out how we see the new partnership the day after Brexit."

"We want to fight terrorism together. It's vital. We are not making threats," he said.

The position paper -- the twelfth to be released by the British government -- does not mention cooperation on cross- border crime or whether it will remain a member of Europol.

The UK government said today that the next round of Brexit negotiations had been delayed a week and would now start on September 25.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, September 12 2017. 23:42 IST