US President Barack Obama has urged European leaders to organize a smooth exit of the UK from the EU. He also emphasized the "special relationship" between Britain and the United States.
In an interview published Friday on London's "Financial Times" newspaper, the US president said he would use his last summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to reaffirm America's "special relationship" with Britain and military alliance with Europe.
He also expressed confidence that Britain and the European Union will manage an "orderly transition" after the UK's vote to leave the 28-nation bloc.
But the referendum vote "raises significant questions about the future of European integration," Obama said, ahead of talks in the Polish capital with top EU officials.
"No one has an interest in protracted, adversarial negotiations," Obama said after meeting European Council head Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Warsaw.
Despite the problems posed by Brexit, European integration was crucial and the United States has a major interest in its continued success, the US leader added.
"The United States has a strong and enduring interest in a united Europe," Obama said, adding that he was certain the close ties between Britain and the United States would endure.
Juncker said the EU would not adopt a "hostile" stance in its negotiations with Britain over its exit from the bloc.
"We have to engage in negotiations. And I'm not doing this, how I could say, in a hostile mood," the European Commission leader said.
Obama's last European trip as president
Obama's European trip, which includes a stop in Spain, is expected to be his last visit to Europe as president. The task of trying to shape the talks between the UK and the rest of the EU and mitigate damage largely will fall to his successor.
Still, in his remaining time in office, Obama has sought to use his relatively popular standing in Europe to defend international cooperation and the "European project" and will urge other leaders to speak up more forcefully.
jar/sms (AP, Reuters)