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Obama Says U.S., Britain Relationship 'Enduring' Despite Brexit

  • RFE/RL

U.S. President Barack Obama says the "special relationship" between the United States and the United Kingdom will endure despite Britons voting to leave the European Union in a landmark referendum.

Britons convincingly voted in the June 23 referendum to leave the EU, a bombshell result that roiled world markets, forced British Prime Minister David Cameron to announce his resignation, and raised fresh doubts about the long-term viability of the now 27-member bloc.

Speaking at a conference at Stanford University in California, Obama said he had discussed the results by telephone with both Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had opposed the British withdrawal and whose economy is the largest in the European Union.

Obama said the vote reflected “changes and challenges that are raised by globalization.”

“But while the U.K. relationship with the EU will change, one thing that will not change is the special relationship between our two nations. That will endure,” he said.

“The EU will remain one of our indispensable partners. Our NATO alliance will remain a cornerstone of global security and in a few weeks we will be meeting in Warsaw for the NATO summit,” he said. “And our shared values, including our commitment to democracy and pluralism and opportunity for all people in a globalized world, that will continue to unite all of us.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ash Carter also spoke with their British counterparts, which suggested the seriousness that the Obama administration viewed the British decision.