Watch: 'Any extension of Article 50 isn't addressing the issues', May says

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By Euronews
Watch: 'Any extension of Article 50 isn't addressing the issues', May says
Copyright  REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

British Prime Minister Theresa May gave a press conference in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, following the closing of a two-day summit between the Arab League and European Union.

May said she discussed various issues with other leaders at the summit, such as migration, the crises in Yemen and Syria, the instability in Libya and the so-called Islamic State. But the event, she admitted, was also "an opportunity to discuss Brexit".

In her conversations during the summit with European Council President Donald Tusk, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, May said that she sensed "a real determination to find a way through which allows the UK to leave the EU in a smooth and orderly way with a deal".

She added that the British government is "working for is to deliver what parliament asked [the government] to do, which is to address the issues in relation to the backstop."

She denied that delaying Brexit could be the way forward.

"Any extension of Article 50 isn't addressing the issues", she said.

"We have it within our grasp. I have had a real sense in conversations that we can achieve that deal on the 29th of March. That's where my energy is going to be focused."

She said that her team will be in Brussels this week to "working on the legally binding assurances the UK parliament needs in relation to the backstop".

The British prime minister on Sunday said parliament would vote on the Brexit deal by March 12 at the latest — just 17 days before the scheduled exit date.

In his own press conference following the summit, European Council President Donald Tusk said extending Article 50 and delaying Brexit was the "rational solution".

You can watch May's press conference in the player above.