Britain's EU Ambassador Quits Before Brexit Trigger

Britain's EU ambassador quits before Brexit trigger

LONDON, Jan 4, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 04th Jan, 2017 ) - Britain's ambassador to the European Union resigned on Tuesday, adding uncertainty to the Brexit process less than three months before the UK is due to trigger its departure negotiations.

Ivan Rogers, a highly-regarded diplomat who had been due to end his four-year stint in October, stepped down as London prepares to invoke Article 50, which starts a two-year countdown to Britain leaving the EU.

Rogers came under fire last month for saying it could take 10 years for Britain to conclude a trade deal with the EU. The government insisted, though, that he was only reporting back what was being said in European capitals.

"Sir Ivan Rogers has resigned a few months early as UK permanent representative to the European Union," a British government spokeswoman said.

"Sir Ivan has taken this decision now to enable a successor to be appointed before the UK invokes Article 50 by the end of March.

We are grateful for his work and commitment over the last three years." London is set to appoint a new ambassador and deputy ambassador shortly. Rogers headed UKRep, the office which represents Britain in negotiations that take place in the EU.

In a resignation email to UKRep staff, he urged colleagues to provide British ministers with their "unvarnished" understanding through Brexit negotiations -- "even where this is uncomfortable". "I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power," Rogers said.