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Brexit, Russia: tough talk at EU summit

Friday, October 21, 2016 - 01:41

EU leaders toughen their talk on Russia, with the possibility of the bloc imposing sanctions discussed for its involvement in Syria. And, as David Pollard reports, there was strong rhetoric for Britain over its Brexit plans.

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The outfit perhaps says it - this was a red letter day for Theresa May. Her first EU summit since Britain's Brexit vote. The UK prime minister also perhaps sending a signal - in response to some heated words from Francois Hollande. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, SAYING: "I say firmly: if Mrs. Theresa May wants a hard Brexit, the negotiations will be very tough." Russia was the target of even tougher talk over its bombing campaign in Syria. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COUNCIL PRESIDENT, DONALD TUSK, SAYING: "It is clear that Russia's strategy is to weaken the EU. We have a sober assessment of the reality and no illusions." But as yet, no decision on possible EU sanctions against Moscow. Even as analysts ponder how a sliding rouble has helped oil-exporter Russia survive previous sanctions over Ukraine. SOUNDBITE (English) JASPER LAWLER, MARKET ANALYST, CMC MARKETS, SAYING: "The drop in the currency just means that ... it converts it back into a few more roubles. And that's been able to cushion the economy enough. It's certainly not been doing well, but it hasn't fallen off a cliff as some people thought it might do." (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, THERESA MAY, SAYING: "The UK is leaving the EU but we are not leaving Europe and we are not turning our backs on our friends and allies...." Theresa May sought to reassure her peers over Brexit. And though the rhetoric was harsh from some, there was a softer approach from others. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, SAYING: (Journalist asking: "What do you hope to achieve with your meeting with Theresa May today?) "I'll tell you after the meeting (Journalist asking whether he found her "difficult"). No, not at all. No, no. (Journalist asking how he would describe her.) Charming, charming." 'Charming', he says. In words - and in deeds ...

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Brexit, Russia: tough talk at EU summit

Friday, October 21, 2016 - 01:41