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The UK is trying to reassure us after the Brexit bomb

LONDON – British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is in Washington on Wednesday to meet with Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, among other senior officials, as Britain tries to reassure its US partners about Brexit negotiations.

The visit comes after the British government dropped a Brexit bomb last week and presented a controversial bill that, if approved, could see the UK withdraw from parts of its withdrawal agreement, as it agreed with the European Union last week. years and violates international law in the process.

The proposed legislation, called the Internal Market Act, seeks to allow the UK government to remove certain parts of the agreement if it and the EU do not reach a trade agreement by the end of the year ̵

1; a result that looks more and more likely in the middle of tense trade negotiations that have been exposed to stumbling blocks.

The bill provoked outrage in Brussels, which threatened the UK with legal action, and got a row between the EU and Britain’s main Brexit negotiators on Twitter. It has also given rise to concern among many British politicians, who said the bill, to be passed by Britain’s lower and upper houses, would damage Britain’s international status at a time when it is necessary to seek trade agreements with the rest of the world.

The United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office was close to all discussions on Brexit and told CNBC in a statement that during its meeting with Pompeo, Raab would “seek to promote Britain and US cooperation on common global priorities” including the “Middle East peace process, stand up for the people of Hong Kong and hold China to its international obligations and take a coordinated response to Russia and Belarus. “

But the BBC reported on Wednesday that Raab is expected to discuss the controversial Brexit law with US officials and argue that “the government’s plans are cautious and proportionate.” Pompeo meets Raab at 16.00 ET, and a joint press conference is expected shortly after.

The bill was criticized by several high-profile U.S. lawmakers who fear it could lift the hard-won peace deal in Northern Ireland, known as the “Good Friday Agreement,” which the United States helped mediate in the late 1990s.

Pelosi said a move to renounce the withdrawal agreement signed with the EU could jeopardize Britain’s chances of concluding a trade agreement with the US in the future.

“Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to prevent the Good Friday Agreement,” she said in a statement last Wednesday.

“If the United Kingdom violates the international treaty and Brexit undermines the Good Friday Agreement, there will be absolutely no chance of a trade agreement between the United States and Britain passing Congress. The Good Friday Agreement is valued by the American people and will be proudly defended in the US Congress.”

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