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Prime Minister Theresa May is welcomed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

(reuters_tickers)

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Thursday it was important that talks on Britain's departure from the European Union should deal with the rights of expatriates first, May's spokesman said.

"They discussed Brexit, welcoming the constructive start to the negotiations and agreeing it was important that the rights of citizens was the first issue to be discussed," the spokesman said in a statement after May met Merkel while visiting Germany to discuss an upcoming meeting of the G20.

Brussels and London have set out different visions of how to protect the rights of EU citizens living in Britain and British nationals in EU countries, but have yet to find agreement.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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