Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (L) and Britain's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox leave after attending a Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in central London on October 10, 2017. AFP PHOTO

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson put the onus on the European Union on Thursday to break the deadlock in Brexit talks, saying London was “looking for some urgency” in Brussels.

A fifth round of negotiations broke up earlier in the day without major progress, fuelling fears that Britain will leave the bloc in March 2019 without an agreement to soften the blow.

“We think that we have made some very helpful suggestions to get the great ship moving down the slipway and onto the open seas, that’s what we all want to see,” Johnson told reporters at a press conference in London.

“We see no reason why that should not take place. We’re looking for some urgency from our friends and partners, and it’s time to put a bit of a tiger in the tank and get this thing done.”

Johnson, who was a leading voice for Brexit in Britain’s EU referendum last year, said he remained “very optimistic” that a deal could be done.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier said Thursday that Britain and the bloc are stuck in a “disturbing deadlock” over London’s financial settlement, although a breakthrough remains possible over the next two months.

He told reporters in Brussels that he could not recommend to EU leaders at a summit next week that negotiations move on from divorce issues to talks on a post-Brexit trade deal. --AFP

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