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British FM says forcing EU citizens out of UK is unthinkable

Britain’s alliance with Portugal is believed to be the oldest bilateral alliance in the world, having been established in 1386.

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“I cannot imagine a scenario in which citizens are obliged to leave,’’ Johnson told a news conference during a brief visit to Lisbon.

Britain is home to a sizable Portuguese population and tens of thousands of Britons live in Portugal.

The future of both groups is one of many issues yet to be defined by those pushing for Britain to leave the EU.

Johnson is one of the scheme’s masterminds and most vocal advocates.

The British foreign secretary held a meeting with his Portuguese counterpart, Augusto Santos Silva, before convening with local delegates and businessmen.

Johnson described Portuguese and British relations as “an uninterrupted success story’’ and invoked the “spirit of alliance’’ between the two countries.

Santos Silva, meanwhile, pledged to continue to work closely with the UK, even if it does end up leaving the EU.

“Brexit does not mean the collapse of the alliance, quite the opposite, there will be increased responsibility to improve our bilateral relations,’’ Silva said.

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