Simon McDonald: UK’s withdrawal from EU would allow London to interact more easily with partners

UK Permanent Under Secretary delivered a lecture at ADA University in Baku

Baku. 6 March. REPORT.AZ/ On the background of Brexit, the United Kingdom is trying to be pragmatic and open to the whole world, including Europe.

Report informs, the United Kingdom’s Permanent Under Secretary and Head of the Diplomatic Service at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Simon McDonald said in a lecture at ADA University in Baku.

"The UK holds a fifth of the world economy and the fourth army in the world that speaks of its global role”, he said.

S. McDonald stressed that the UK does not claim to ultimate authority, and not guided by any ideology in foreign policy. "The UK had made big mistakes, such as deployment of British troops in Iraq. We're trying to be pragmatic and open to the world, including in Europe against the background of Brexit”, he added.

In his view, UK’s withdrawal from the EU would allow London to interact more easily with old and new partners.

Speaking about relations with Moscow, British diplomat stressed that Russia is one of the most important countries in the European area.

"Today, three forces are outside the EU - Russia in the east, Turkey - in the south and the north of the United Kingdom. In this case, there is an interesting situation", said S. McDonald.

He noted that the political vector of Russia and Turkey are different from the UK, as both countries "are going their own way", including in the Middle East.

According to him, United Kingdom was not allied with Russia since the Second World War, and it will not be in the long term. "The history of the last decades has shown that in our relations there is skepticism," the diplomat added.

Speaking of British policy in the Middle East, he pointed out that London intends to continue to maintain its ties and take responsibility for situation in the region. "As the UK’s influence in the region remained, we often act as mediators in certain situations. I believe that it is possible to solve any problems through negotiations in the Middle East", emphasized diplomat.

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