: RFE/RL: U.S., European officials in crisis talks after U.K.'s 'Brexit' vote

10:55 Jun. 27, 2016

RFE/RL: U.S., European officials in crisis talks after U.K.'s 'Brexit' vote

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. (GettyImages)

Scotland and Northern Ireland insist a referendum on independence must take place

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Brussels and London on June 27th amid a flurry of diplomatic activity in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union. In the Belgian capital, he is to hold talks with E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

A senior U.S. official was quoted as saying Kerry would stress the importance of other members not following Britain and further weakening the E.U. Kerry will then head to London, where he is expected to meet with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on the first high-level, face-to-face talks between the two countries since the June 23rd referendum.

On June 26th in Rome, Kerry urged Britain and the E.U. to work together to calm markets as the fallout from the British vote stoked anxiety among investors around the world. The U.S. top diplomat also reaffirmed America's "special relationship" with Britain and spoke of "how important the relationship of Europe, the E.U., is to the United States."

"The most important thing is that all of us, as leaders, work together to provide as much continuity, as much stability, as much certainty as possible," Kerry said.

Also on June 27th, Prime Minister David Cameron gathers his cabinet for the first time since the referendum and addresses Parliament. Cameron has said he would resign his office in the autumn and leave negotiations on the so-called "Brexit" to his successor.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also facing pressure to stand down, with a string of his senior team of lawmakers resigning on June 26th in protest at his leadership over the E.U. referendum.

British Finance Minister George Osborne has scheduled a statement early on June 27th before the start of trading in Britain in a bid to calm investors.

Watch also London Mayor urges support for Brexit, Osborne warns of impact on economy

The bleeding in financial markets continued early on June 27th, with the pound extending its selloff to sit at 30-year lows and stocks outside Tokyo and Shanghai slipping. The pound lost nearly 3 percent to .3365 in trading in Asia, extending a record one-day decline of 8.1 percent on June 24th.

On June 26th, Boris Johnson, the leading "Leave" campaigner and favorite to become the next prime minister, sought to calm fears about the country's economic future.

In a column in The Daily Telegraph newspaper, Johnson said the country would forge "a new and better relationship with the E.U. - based on free trade and partnership, rather than a federal system." He also said there was "no great rush" for Britain to extricate itself from the E.U.

But European leaders stepped up the pressure on Britain to begin its complex exit from the 28-nation E.U. immediately. European Parliament chief Martin Schulz warned on June 26th that a period of limbo would "lead to even more insecurity and thus endanger jobs," adding that a summit of E.U. leaders this week was the "right time" to begin exit proceedings.

Read also BBC: Soros warns of EU disintegration

Meeting in Berlin on June 25th, foreign ministers from the E.U. six founding states urged Britain to begin the exit process "as soon as possible." Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on June 26th she would do whatever it takes to keep pro-E.U. Scotland in the bloc, including potentially vetoing legislation on a British exit. But French President Francois Hollande declared there was no going back, saying: "What was once unthinkable has become irreversible."

On June 27th in Brussels, E.U. commissioners are to meet ahead of the leaders' summit on June 28-29th, which is set to be dominated by Britain's vote to leave the bloc. E.U. President Donald Tusk will hold talks with Hollande in Paris. In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will have a meeting with Tusk, followed by talks with Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will meet in Prague with his counterparts from the so-called Visegrad group - the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary.

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