Boris Johnson says UK not abandoning leading role in Europe

Updated: 2016-07-19 10:25


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Boris Johnson says UK not abandoning leading role in Europe

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson listens to Spain's Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo (L) during an European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, July 18, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

BRUSSELS - Britain's newly appointed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson here on Monday said Britain was not going to be abandoning its leading role in European cooperation participation.

He made the remarks as he arrived for a European Union (EU) foreign ministers meeting.

"We have to give effect to the will of the people and leave the EU. But in no sense does that mean we are leaving Europe," he stressed.

Johnson noted he had had a "very good conversation" Sunday night with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and "she agreed very much that that was a role Britain should continue to play."

"Clearly, when you look at the discussion on the table this morning over the horrific events in Nice and Turkey, where we have to work very closely together, you can see the importance of that," he said.

"We will ensure that we coordinate our response to terror. On Turkey, I think it's very important, in view of the failed coup, that we see restraint and moderation on all sides and that's what I will be calling for," said Johnson.

Former London mayor and leading "Leave" campaigner in the lead-up to the Brexit referendum, Johnson was made foreign secretary by new British Prime Minister Theresa May last Wednesday.