Britain will remain active on the global stage despite its vote to leave the EU, British Prime Minister Theresa May said at the UN summit. She also reiterated her views on limiting refugee movements.
Prime Minister Theresa May told the United Nations that Britain would remain a key player on major global issues including fighting poverty, terrorism and climate change – despite the UK’s June 23 referendum vote to leave the European Union.
“When the British people voted to leave the EU, they did not vote to turn inwards or walk away from any of our partners in the world,” May said in her address to the UN General Assembly.
May, who took office in July when her predecessor David Cameron resigned following the so-called “Brexit” vote, said that Britain “has always been an outward-facing, global partner” in international affairs.
One of five veto-wielding permanent members of the UN Security Council, May also gave assurances that Britain would remain “steadfast” in seeking to resolve conflicts across the world, adding that all the while the UK would also continue to meet its NATO commitments, such as deploying more peacekeepers to Somalia and South Sudan.
Staunch stance on refugee strategy
May also devoted much of her address to promoting a tougher stance on migration amid the massive flow of refugees into the West.
She called for more distinction between refugees fleeing persecution and war, and those who would qualify as economic migrants. She stressed that asylum seekers should always apply in the first safe country where they step foot – clearly referring to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan for most fleeing war-torn Syria.
The British leader, however, also slammed the “appalling slaughter” happening in Syria, urging world leaders to increase efforts to bring about peace in the war-torn country and to forge “a bold, new multilateralism.”
ss/kl (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)