Brussels, Feb 20 : Britain's planned exit from the European Union next month will hopefully not be "brutal" or "divisive" especially given the many Italians resident in the UK and Britons living in Italy, Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi said on Tuesday.
"We hope there will be no brutal severing of the relationship between Britain and the EU, given that many Italian citizens live on the other side of the channel and there are many Britons living in Italy," he said.
Italy has "strong economic interests" in and "a positive trade balance" with Britain, Moavero said on the sidelines of the EU General Affairs Council.
"We hope that a non-divisive way forward can be found," he said.
"A possible extension of Britain's withdrawal from the EU beyond March, which remains a possibility under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union and which requires the European Council's unanimous accord," Moavero said.
The foreign ministry said that Moavero had talks with his British counterpart Jeremy Hunt in Brussels Monday on the rights of Italian citizens in the UK and Britons resident in Italy after Brexit, which is scheduled for March 29.
Britain's Premier Theresa May is still hoping to secure changes to the withdrawal treaty she negotiated with the EU in order to get a revised deal through parliament. She has not ruled out a no-deal Brexit should her bid fail.