Macron: time's too short for a new Brexit deal

(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING:

"Now I have to be very clear, in the coming month, we will not be trying to find a new withdrawal agreement far from the basics."

A stern warning from the French president for Boris Johnson, who wants to negotiate a whole new deal just two months before Brexit.

The new UK prime minister is using his first foreign trip to warn that a disorderly Brexit is the alternative.

But it was a 'non' Thursday from Emmanuel Macron and a 'nein' the day before from Berlin, where he met Angela Merkel.

Despite all the top-level brinkmanship, they did hint at a way out.

If Johnson wants to drop the Irish backstop as he's demanding, he'll have to come up with an alternative.

(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING:

"And so, to respond to the backstop question - I think this corresponds to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's goal -- nobody is going to wait until Oct. 31 without trying to find a good solution."

But a mechanism to stop a hard border in Ireland is indispensible, Macron said, and Britain's destiny lies in Johnson's hands alone.

No one wants a no-deal Brexit, but Europe is ready.

Johnson meanwhile keeps placing the ball in the European Union's court.

SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING:

"I want to make it absolutely clear to you Emmanuel, to the French people, that of course, I want a deal. And I think we can get a deal, and a good deal. "

If he fails, Britain could leave on October 31st without a deal. That could shake the economy and deepen rifts in an already divided Britain.

Parliament wants to do all it can to stop that happening, and an election is also a possibility -- the only certain thing in the next few months is yet more twists and turns.