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World leaders react to Liz Truss becoming new UK prime minister

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - Foreign Secretary Liz Truss arrives at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters in Westminster after winning the Tory leadership contest in London, United Kingdom on September 05, 2022. (Wiktor Szymanowicz - Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 06, 2022 - 03:50 AM

LONDON (AA) – World leaders spoke out on Monday at the news, not altogether unexpected, that British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will become the UK’s next prime minister.

French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters in Paris: “I say welcome to Liz Truss. I express all of France’s congratulations, and we are ready to work together, as one would say, as allies and friends.”

UK-France relations have been strained since Brexit, with small boat crossings by migrants coming from Calais, France to Dover, England further souring relations.

Truss, despite being foreign secretary, poured fuel on this fire during the leadership election process. When asked if Macron was friend or foe at a leadership debate, Truss responded: “The jury is out. If I become prime minister, I will judge him on deeds, nor words.”

Her response got applause inside the event hall packed with the Tory faithful, but was condemned by a wide range of people outside.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz tweeted: “Congratulations on your new role, @trussliz! I am looking forward to our co-operation in these challenging times. The UK and Germany will continue to work closely together, as partners and friends.”

Relations with the EU are the worst they have been for years due to Brexit, not least Truss’ threats to trigger Article 16 in order to unilaterally disapply parts of the Northern Ireland protocol, which is a section of the Brexit deal the UK government negotiated that it now wishes to reform.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: “We face many challenges together, from climate change to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I look forward to a constructive relationship, in full respect of our agreements.”

Maros Sefcovic, EU commission vice-president and chief Brexit negotiator, echoed von der Leyen’s emphasis on respecting agreements.

“Congratulations @trussliz. A positive relationship is of great strategic importance,” he tweeted. “I stand ready to work intensively and constructively with my new UK interlocutor to foster such a partnership, in full respect of our agreements,” he tweeted.

Despite these tensions over the Northern Ireland protocol, Irish Taoiseach Micheal Martin sent a more general and genial message to the incoming UK premier, tweeting: “Congratulations Liz Truss on your election as Conservative Party leader. I look forward to working with you, as PM of our nearest neighbour, on important issues we face together, both bilaterally and globally.”

Russia-Ukraine conflict

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said: “The United Kingdom plays a leading role in NATO, including with strong contributions to our defence & significant support to Ukraine. I look forward to working closely with you as Prime Minister at this pivotal time for our security.”

On the other hand, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said: “I wouldn’t like to say that things can change for the worse, because it’s hard to imagine anything worse.

“But unfortunately, this cannot be ruled out given that the contenders for the post of British prime minister competed with each other in anti-Russian rhetoric, in threats to take further steps against our country and so on. Therefore, I don’t think that we can hope for anything positive.”

As for Ukraine, Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament, said: “I congratulate the people of the United Kingdom on the new head of Government and wish Liz Truss to fulfil all the tasks she takes office with.

“Since the start of the war, Ukraine has felt what real friends are. No doubt, the United Kingdom is Ukraine’s true ally. I believe support for Ukraine will only increase.”

Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskyy did not yet congratulate Truss, but did take the time to tweet his thanks to outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for supporting Ukraine.

Zelenskyy tweeted: “Had a summing up conversation with Boris Johnson in his current capacity. On behalf of all [Ukrainian] people, I thanked him for his personal bravery, principles and a major contribution to countering RF’s aggression. I look forward to co-operation with a great friend of [Ukraine] in a new status.”

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