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Britain, Europe scramble to contain Brexit crisis

Update: June, 27/2016 - 11:22

LONDON — British Prime Minister David Cameron will gather his cabinet today at the start of a crunch week for Europe’s leaders after the country’s shock vote to leave the EU, seeking to head off further turmoil.

Finance minister George Osborne will also break his silence and try to reassure financial markets following the momentous Brexit vote, which has fuelled fears of a break-up of the United Kingdom with Scotland vying for independence.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is due in London later in the day after a stop-off in Brussels, while the leaders of Germany, France and Italy will meet in Berlin.

Three days after Cameron announced his resignation, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also facing pressure to stand down, with a string of his top team resigning on Sunday.

EU powers have called for a swift divorce amid fears of a domino effect o exit votes in eurosceptic member states that could imperil the integrity of the 28-nation alliance.

But Cameron has said negotiations on Britain’s departure must wait until a successor is chosen from his Conservative party, which could be as late as October.

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz warned on Sunday that a period of limbo would "lead to even more insecurity" and said a summit of EU leaders tomorrow, which Cameron will attend, was the "right time" to begin exit proceedings.

But EU diplomats warned on Sunday that Britain "may never" trigger the formal divorce process -- Article 50 of the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, which will set the clock ticking on a two-year period for Britain to negotiate its divorce.

Kerry, in Rome for talks, expressed regret at Britain’s decision to become the first EU nation to leave the bloc -- and vowed Washington would maintain close ties with the 28-country alliance.

"Brexit and the changes that are now being thought through have to be thought through in the context of the interests and values that bind us together with the EU," he said. — AFP




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