Image source, Reuters
Image caption French President Emmanuel Macron (left), and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, (right), met in Rome Sunday

According to the UK government, France is responsible for resolving the fishing dispute with Britain by withdrawing from threats regarding access to ports.

Boris Johnson met Emmanuel Macron, French President on Sunday to talk about the tensions surrounding French fishing boat permits.

French officials claimed that the two had reached an agreement to collaborate in the next hours and days on a solution.

However, Johnson later claimed that there had not been any agreement on the matter.

When asked by journalists about the conversation with President Macron Johnson, Johnson said that it was “wide-ranging and candid discussion”, however he maintained that this should be “understood between long-standing friends and very, very close allies”.

Macron stated that the ball was in Britain’s hands and hoped for a positive reaction from Britain on Monday.

Macron said that the dispute over fishing was an EU matter, and not a bilateral one between the countries.

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Johnson had previously stated that he was concerned about the recent rhetoric from France, which included the suggestion of the French Prime Minister that punishment should be given to the UK for its decision to leave the EU.

The French government was said to have “expressed its hope that Mr Johnson would de-escalate his rhetoric and retract their threats”.

Spokesman for the PM added: “It is up to France to decide whether they wish to move away from these deeply concerning threats.”

We aren’t trying to escalate it. If they withdraw their threats and de-escalate, we would be happy. [But]The French will decide.

They met in Rome for a 30 minute informal meeting. This is where the leaders of G20 countries, which are the richest, were already having talks.

French officials confirmed that Macron and Johnson would work together to resolve the issue after their meeting.

The Elysee Palace released a statement saying that both leaders agreed to “continue talks in the following hours and days about fishing licences”.

The statement also stated that Mr Macron would “continue dialogue on the base of exactingness. Seriosity and respect”. It added: “The French president informed his counterpart about how important it was to respect the commitments made jointly by the UK, EU and in the Brexit Agreement.”

Following the comments of the UK government, the Elysee Palace stated that leaders made “operational provisions,” and France would keep trying to solve the problem.

An official said: “We are aware that Boris Johnson wants to turn the fishing tale into a French-UK matter.” This is an issue post-Brexit that should be dealt with between the European Union, the United Kingdom.

“We are asking the British to respect our signature.”

While fishing makes up a very small portion of the British and French economies respectively, it played an important role in politics throughout Brexit.

This particular dispute began when a British trawler, which was being used to fish in the English Channel, was taken by France. Another vessel was fined at Le Havre checks on Thursday.

The wider question of whether the UK will grant France licenses to fish in British waters post-Brexit has been a hot topic.

France was upset by the UK’s and Jersey’s decision to refuse fishing permits to French-owned boats last month. This violated the Brexit Agreement.

The British government warned that it will block British vessels from landing in French ports next week, and would tighten inspections of UK ships and trucks if there was no resolution to the fishing license dispute by Tuesday.

France threatened previously in May that it would cut off electricity supply to Jersey.

The BBC also saw Jean Castex’s letter to the French Prime Minister, which stated that “more harm is done by leaving the EU than it does staying”.

The row about fishing licenses seemed to be at the edge of a calming down for a short moment. But it didn’t last long.

Rarely are there two contradictory reports of the same meeting.

Both men can have their home audiences, which is a good thing.

In recent years we have also gotten used to listening to punchy statements during diplomatic negotiations.

What will concern some people is that it could not just be about negotiating “theatre” but instead indicate a lack of mutual trust between important allies.

M. Johnson spoke on Saturday to acknowledge that the UK and France are experiencing “turbulence”.

He insisted that the common things between the countries was more important than the divisions.

His Brexit minister, Lord Frost, however, took to Twitter Saturday and stated that the government was considering launching a legal action against France pursuant to the Brexit agreement as a response.

Twitter: “We will continue talking constructively to attempt to solve all our differences, and we urge France and EU to refrain from using rhetorical and other actions that would make things more complicated.”

On Sunday, France’s minister for Europe, Clément Beaune, replied to Lord Frost, saying France had been “negotiating patiently and constructively for 10 months”.

The claim that there were technical problems causing the problem was rejected by him. He stated: “It is not a technical matter, it’s political decision and a violation of the [Brexit deal]”

He stated, “A friend is an ally. A responsible partner should keep its word. And comply with all legal obligations.”

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