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22 Jul 2016
The United Kingdom will be “more committed than ever before” to playing an international role on issues such as intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism.
That was the pledge from newly-appointed UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, making his first visit to UN Headquarters.
He said he had had a productive meeting with UN chief Ban-Ki-moon, discussing a wide-range of issues.
Matthew Wells reports.
Mr Johnson said he had been heartened by the Secretary-General’s suggestion that the UK should play an “ever-greater role” in international affairs, despite its decision to leave the European Union, or EU.
The Foreign Secretary was a leading member of the Brexit campaign to leave, but promised that his country, which holds a permanent seat on the Security Council, would forge even closer ties with allies around the world.
Stressing that the UK would remain outward-looking after Brexit was the key purpose of his UN visit, he told reporters.
“We are going to be more committed than ever before, to cooperation and participation and support for other European countries whether through defence policy coordination or foreign policy or counter-terrorism which we have just been discussing, or intelligence-sharing in which the UK is a superpower. The UK is going to be more visible, more active, more energetic, than ever before.”
He said that the faster the UK negotiated its exit from the EU the better, and he argued that there were “positive” signs already for the future of the UK economy and European trade.
With the backdrop of Friday’s shootings in Munich, he said that terrorism and violent extremism was a “global phenomenon” that therefore needed to be tackled globally.
He praised the Security Council resolution adopted on Friday afternoon which authorizes Member States to rid Libya of any remaining chemical weapons, by shipping them out of the country and destroying them.
Matthew Wells, United Nations.