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The Foreign Secretary was forced to invite Andrew Marr to refrain from making “assumptions” on the ongoing Brexit negotiations as the UK and the EU now have just one week left to come to a trade agreement. The BBC host told Mr Raab: “There’s just a week left now to conclude any trade agreement with the EU, are we going to do it? Probably not, I assume.”
But the First Secretary was prompt to put the BBC host in his place as he reminded Mr Marr making assumptions on the Brexit negotiations was a mistake.
He blasted: “I wouldn’t make assumptions, that’s the one thing that we know about the Brexit process.
“I spoke to David Frost yesterday, the issues are where they are.
“The Prime Minister has spoken to Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the Commission.
“Negotiations are still ongoing.
“What I’ll say is it’s still down to two issues, there’s progress that’s been made but we’ve got to see whether it’s enough to get us over the line.
“There are some core issues at stake for the UK, points of democratic principles around control of our laws, control of our fishing as an independent coastal state.
“I don’t think we can toss those aside, but if the EU shows the flexibility that we need to meet us half way, I am confident a deal can still be done.”
The Foreign Secretary also dismissed suggestions that Joe Biden’s previous criticism of Boris Johnson would impact the relationship between the two countries.
Asked about Mr Biden’s previous criticism of Mr Johnson, Mr Raab told the BBC host: “We’re two years on from that, and I thought it was very interesting hearing from Senator Coons that he’s not interested, and he doesn’t think that the administration is going to be interested in re-litigating old issues.
“Not least as we’ve left the EU, we leave the transition period by the time the inauguration happens.
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“What he’s looking for, what the Americans will be looking for, I’m sure, is the opportunities of the future.
“I’m not saying that their interest in the Good Friday Agreement will in any way dim.
“I’ve explained why we’re absolutely committed to it, but what they are looking at now as Senator Coons expressed, but as others have to be as well, they’re looking at the opportunities for multi-lateral co-operation on COVID or counter-terrorism, cyber is a big thing, reinforcing the NATO alliance and, of course, climate change.”
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