The U.S. will throw its weight behind Brexit and support the UK as she splits from the European Union (EU), the American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said.
At a joint press conference with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Friday, he said: “We continue to welcome the opportunity to work closely with our counterparts in the United Kingdom.
“While Brexit does present unique challenges to the British people, please know that you have a steadfast ally in the United States.
“We will stand by our allies as Brexit continues to take shape and we look forward to continuing this long relationship.”
He also praised the co-operation between the UK, U.S., and France in dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean.
He said: “The co-operation through that event has been extraordinary. All of us set down our own concerns and said: ‘what can we do to help each others’ citizens?’ and we’re very thankful for that.
“We’re also committed to take that same spirit into the aftermath and how can we work together and co-ordinate now to complete the recovery and begin the long, long process of reconstruction in a way that is beneficial to everyone.”
LIVE: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson speak from London https://t.co/Jwy3lGh4dC
— Bloomberg (@business) September 14, 2017
Before last year’s referendum, former U.S. President Barack Obama famously claimed the UK would be at the “back of the queue” for a free trade deal with the U.S. if she left the EU.
His successor, President Donald Trump, has struck a different tone, insisting he wants a deal with Britain as soon as possible.
Mr. Tillerson also thanked the UK for her support in sending a “very strong message to North Korea” that Kim Jong Un’s nuclear ambitions were “not acceptable to any member of the international community”.
The Secretary of State had met with Prime Minister Theresa May shortly before the press conference. He said the discussion at Number 10 lasted around 45 minutes and described it as “very good”.
Downing Street said Mrs. May also “dropped in” on a meeting between Mr. Tillerson and the prime minister’s National Security Adviser Mark Sedwill.