The United Kingdom is close to a cooperation agreement with the European Union border forces

LONDON, February 19 (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government will announce in the coming days a cooperation agreement with the European Union's border protection agency (Frontex), in a new sign of the resumption of relations after Britain's exit from the European Union.

Sunak's spokesman said on Monday that the agreement would see the two sides exchange information about gangs involved in illegal immigration and cooperate on techniques to prevent people smuggling.

Sunak's spokesman said Frontex “has an unprecedented view of illegal migration and cross-border crime on the European continent, so clearly we have these conversations to reach these working agreements which will give us new ways of tackling illegal migration.”

In a readout of Sunday's call between Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Downing Street said the deal should be formalized in the coming days.

Sunak has made halting the arrival of small boats carrying asylum seekers from France one of his top five priorities, and hopes that the decline in the number of arrivals will help the Conservative Party, which is trailing in opinion polls, achieve an unexpected victory in the next general election this year.

Although the UK has reached bilateral agreements – including a recent agreement with Turkey to dismantle people smuggling gangs and tackle illegal migration – it has no return agreements with the EU since leaving the bloc.

(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing in Spanish by Benjamin Mejias Valencia)

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