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Barnier says EU will stick to Brexit political declaration

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Thursday noted Britain's negotiating mandate published earlier but, making clear sharp divergences ahead of talks starting next week, said the bloc would stick to the political declaration agreed last year.

"We take note of the UK's mandate published today and will discuss our respective positions on Monday," Barnier said in a tweet.

"We will stick to all our prior commitments in the Political Declaration. We want an ambitious & fair partnership with the UK in the future."

In October last year the UK and EU agreed on the declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the EU and Britain.

The declaration addresses the security partnership and the economic partnership, with the latter referring to a level playing field of standards and regulations to ensure fair competition in trade. The UK has since rejected this.

The political declaration, which is not legally binding, sits alongside the legal divorce treaty that was also agreed in October.

(Reporting by John Chalmers)

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