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Berlin to receive new UK prime minister

Theresa May has announced her first foreign visit as UK prime minister will be to Germany followed by France. The agenda is expected to include post-Brexit EU-UK relations, the Turkish crisis and the Nice truck attack.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will receive her British counterpart on Wednesday to discussBritain’s decision to leave the European Union and its consequences, a German government spokesman said Monday.

May is expected to arrive at 5:30 p.m. (1530 UTC) and attend a working dinner with Merkel.

“This will be an opportunity to discuss the bilateral relationship, cooperation on a range of global challenges, and of course how the UK and Germany can work together as the UK prepares to leave the EU,” an unnamed UK government spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.

“Political developments in Turkey, the refugee question as well as the Brexit issue will be the focus of a joint discussion,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

From Berlin to Paris

The continental tour will move on to France when May is expected to travel to Paris for a bilateral meeting with France’s president, Francois Hollande.

May had spent six years as the UK’s interior minister before running for the leadership of the UK’s Conservative Party following the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron.

Brexit proponent and former London Mayor Boris Johnson, her surprise choice as new foreign minister, met with his European and US counterparts in Brussels on Monday.

“We have to give effect to the will of the people and leave the European Union but… we are not going in any way to abandon our leading role in European participation,” Johnson told reporters.

EU leaders insist Britain’s negotiations for its departure from the bloc can only start once London invokes Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, setting a two-year countdown to its exit.

jar/kms (AFP, dpa)

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