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British Government Says It Will Trigger EU Exit Procedure On March 29

U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis

Britain has said it will initiate the process of leaving the European Union on March 29, following a referendum last year in which voters decided to exit the 28-nation bloc.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on March 20 that the British government has informed European Council President Donald Tusk's office of its intention to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal notification of a member’s intention to leave the EU.

"We are on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country for a generation," U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis said in a statement.

In response to the announcement, Tusk said he would present the remaining EU states with a draft of negotiating guidelines within 48 hours after the article is formally triggered.

Talks on the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU, and how the two sides will handle relations afterward, must be completed within two years.

Britain is the only country to invoke Article 50.

Davis said Britain wants "a deal that works for every nation and region of the U.K. and indeed for all of Europe -- a new, positive partnership between the U.K. and our friends and allies in the European Union."

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, BBC