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EghtesadOnline: Governments lent broad support to European Union President Donald Tusk’s tough Brexit negotiating stance when diplomats met Tuesday for the first time since the U.K. formally triggered departure talks.

Aides to the EU’s 27 national leaders backed the language contained in draft negotiating guidelines circulated to capitals March 31, according to five diplomats with knowledge of the discussions in Brussels. That draft rejected Prime Minister Theresa May’s ambition of discussing a trade deal before an agreement on how much the U.K. should pay, according to Bloomberg.

With the EU now controlling the timetable of the two-year negotiations and talks unlikely to start between the two sides until late May at the earliest, the U.K. can do little while the bloc goes through the process of approving its negotiation framework. The bloc’s determination to present a united front has so far shown little sign of falling away.

Tuesday’s meeting focused on the rights of EU citizens already in the U.K. and Britain’s 60 billion-euro ($64 billion) exit bill, with some countries calling for the language in Tusk’s draft to be toughened still, diplomats said. There was no attempt to remove the wording that no deal between the U.K. and the EU will apply to Gibraltar, a British territory off the Spanish coast, without an agreement between Spain and Britain, they said.

The negotiating guidelines are due to be approved by the 27 leaders of the EU without the U.K. when they meet for a summit in Brussels on April 29. The preparations will continue in the week before that: Aides are scheduled to meet again April 24 and Brussels-based diplomats will hold technical talks April 26, before European affairs ministers finalize the draft on April 27.

Brexit Donald Tusk UK-EU