French Finance Minister Michel Sapin says Britain's decision to leave the European Union "can only be negative" for the country.

Sapin repeated the point twice during a press conference Tuesday following a meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew at the French Finance Ministry.

Lew said Britain and its partners need to be pragmatic as the U.K. and the EU negotiate the terms of their divorce.

Sapin acknowledged being sad about Britain's withdrawal from the bloc, but said "we have to accept the vote."

He said he was pleased that a new prime minister was taking power sooner rather than later. He added that he hopes a consequence of that will be that Britain's formal notification to the EU about its departure "will happen as quickly as possible."