Johnson tells Merkel UK will leave EU on Australia terms if no deal is reached

Two leaders also discussed Israel's plan to annex parts of occupied West Bank

epa07784446 German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) shakes hands British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after a joint statement at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, 21 August 2019. Prior to the G7 summit in Biarritz form 24 to 27 August 2019, Johnson meets Angela Merkel and on the next day French President Emmanuel Macron. In the talks, Johnson is expected to try to resume the Brexit talks, so that it will not come to a 'no deal' exit of the United Kingdom from the EU on 31 October 2019.  EPA/CLEMENS BILAN

Britain is prepared to leave the EU on the same terms as Australia has with the bloc if it cannot agree on a trading deal, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday.

Australia does not have a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU.

Much of their trade follows World Trade Organisation rules, although specific agreements are in place for some goods.

"On the future relationship, the prime minister underlined the UK's commitment to working hard to find an early agreement out of the intensified talks process," a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

"He also noted that the UK equally would be ready to leave the transition period on Australia terms if an agreement could not in the end be reached."

In their phone call, the two heads of state also discussed the coronavirus crisis and geopolitical tension in the Middle East.

“The leaders spoke about the importance of international collaboration on coronavirus, including on the work to find a vaccine,” Downing Street said.

“On foreign affairs, the Prime Minister and Chancellor Merkel discussed their concern about possible unilateral annexation of territory in the West Bank by Israel, and pledged to redouble efforts to secure a negotiated solution to the crisis in Libya."

Earlier on Tuesday, Egypt, France, Germany and Jordan warned Israel against annexing parts of the Palestinian territories, saying that doing so could have consequences for relations.

The countries, which include two of Israel's leading partners in the Middle East, said their foreign ministers had discussed how to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Israel plans to annex up to 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank as part of a deal being promoted by US President Donald Trump's administration.

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