Attending her first European Union summit since Britain's vote to leave the bloc, Prime Minister Theresa May tried to reassure EU leaders over Brexit but was told by French President Francois Hollande to prepare for tough negotiations.
At a gathering in Brussels where EU leaders had robust debates on Russia, migration and trade issues, May was allotted a short time slot at the end of dinner on Thursday to lay out her plans for taking Britain out of the EU after more than four decades as a member.
May has said she will formally notify the EU of Britain's plan to leave by the end of March, but she and her ministers have sent conflicting signals about what kind of relationship they envision once the divorce talks end.
Her speech at a conference of her Conservative Party in early October suggested to some that she was leaning towards a so-called "hard Brexit" in which Britain would place limits on immigration and lose access to Europe's lucrative single market.
"This is my first European Council and I'm here with a very clear message," May said at the start of the summit. "The UK is leaving the EU but we will continue to play a full role until we leave and we'll be a strong and dependable partner after we have left."
Despite the conciliatory tone, Hollande warned May that "the...