UK not turning away from world after Brexit, Theresa May tells UNGA

British Prime Minister May enters the General Assembly Hall to speak during the 71st United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan. (Reuters)

British Prime Minister Theresa May told leaders on Tuesday that her country will not turn away from the world after the shock vote to leave the European Union, seeking to allay fears over the future unity of the West.

In her maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly, May sketched her views on how to deal with terrorism, mass migration and modern slavery while also calling for modernization of the 71-year-old organization.

“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 told the General Assembly.

“The United Kingdom has always been an outward-facing, global partner at the heart of international efforts to secure peace and prosperity for all our people. And that is how we will remain.”

The June 23 vote took many investors and chief executives by surprise, triggering the deepest political and financial turmoil in Britain since World War Two and the biggest ever one-day fall in sterling against the dollar.

Britain’s allies fear that its exit from the EU could mark a turning point in post-Cold War international affairs that will weaken the West in relation to China and Russia, undermine efforts toward European integration and hurt global free trade.

Britain retains its role in the NATO military alliance as the EU’s biggest defense spender, its permanent veto-wielding seat on the UN Security Council and four submarines armed with nuclear ballistic missiles.

But some diplomats and CEOs are worried that Brexit could torpedo Britain’s economic interests and clout, a suggestion that riles British ministers.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52