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Former NATO, US Officials See Negative Consequences from Brexit

FILE - A British flag and an EU flag are set up ahead of British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit at the European Commission in Brussels, Jan. 29, 2016.

A British exit from the European Union would damage Western security and weaken Europe, former NATO secretary-generals, and former U.S. secretaries of state and defense warned Tuesday.

The former NATO chiefs said in a letter to The Daily Telegraph newspaper that a so-called Brexit would give aid to the West's enemies" and would "undoubtedly lead to a loss of British influence" at a time when “we need to stand should-to-shoulder across the Euro-Atlantic community against common threats."

The signatories were Peter Carington, Javier Solana, George Robertson, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Former US officials on Brexit

In separate letter to the Times, 13 former U.S. secretaries of state and defense, and national security advisors warned of the consequences if Britons vote to leave the European Union.

"We are concerned that should the UK choose to leave the European Union, the UK's place and influence in the world would be diminished and Europe would be dangerously weakened," U.S. former secretaries of State said in their letter.

The signatories included former secretaries of state George Shultz and Madeleine Albright, and former secretaries of Defense Frank Carlucci, William Perry, Bill Cohen, Bob Gates and Leon Panetta.

The warnings come as the debate in Britain for and against Brexit has intensified.

British Prime Minister David Cameron repeated his position Monday that Britain is safer in the European Union, while former London mayor Boris Johnson, a member of Cameron's Conservative Party, accused him of suggesting World War III would break out should Britons vote to leave the union in a June 23 referendum.