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No Isolationist Path for Britain, Johnson Insists

  • Margaret Besheer

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaks to reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, July 22, 2016.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaks to reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, July 22, 2016.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Friday that his country’s planned departure from the European Union did not mean it was following an isolationist path.

“I would draw a very, very strong contrast between Brexit and any kind of isolationism,” Johnson said in response to a question. “Brexit means us being more outward-looking, more engaged, more energetic, more enthusiastic and committed on the world stage than ever before.”

The former mayor of London and public face of the Brexit movement, now Britain’s top diplomat, made his debut Friday at the United Nations. He was in New York to meet with business leaders and then see U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other diplomats at the world body’s headquarters.

He said he and the U.N. chief discussed pressing global issues, including the wars in Syria and Yemen.

While he was at the United Nations, news came of the shooting attack at a shopping mall in Munich, Germany.

“If it seems very likely this that is another terrorist incident, then I think it proves once again that we have a global phenomenon now and a global sickness that we have to tackle both at source in the areas where the cancer is being incubated in the Middle East, but also, of course, around the world,” he said.

He said nations must deal with the symptoms and process of radicalization.

Johnson also briefly appeared at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Libya and took part in a vote on a resolution to remove that country’s chemical weapons stockpiles and send them to third-party countries for destruction.

“What we have done today is a good example of the role of the U.N. in tackling global challenges,” he told the council after casting Britain’s vote. “It is also an example of the United Kingdom’s continued determination to play a leading role through the U.N., together with you, our partners in the Security Council.”

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