Francois Hollande
French President Francois Hollande echoed the words by German Chancellor Angel Merkel after Article 50 was invokedStephane de Sakutin/AFP

French President Francois Hollande has joined Angela Merkel in telling Theresa May that talks on the UK's future relationship with the EU must wait until after negotiations on its departure from the bloc.

In a phone call on Thursday morning, the French President said Donald Tusk's timetable for talks must be adhered to after the Prime Minister "presented her Government's approach to discussions".

All negotiations must be held in a "clear and constructive manner, so as to lift uncertainties and to fully respect the rules and interests of the 27-member European Union," said a summary of the call released by the Élysée Palace.

"The president indicated that the talks must at first be about the terms of withdrawal, dealing especially with citizens' rights and obligations resulting from the commitments made by the UK.

"On the basis of the progress made, we could open discussions on the framework of future relations between the UK and the EU in accordance with the letter from Mr Tusk."

On Wednesday (29 March), Theresa May formally invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty which begins the two-year process to leave the EU.

Merkel was quick to respond to Mrs May saying that that any negotiations would have to wait until a divorce bill had been agreed.

The European Council President said an "orderly withdrawal" was the priority for 27 remaining member states and plans to unveil negotiating guidelines in Malta on Friday.