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May Calls For U.S., British Leadership, But Says Days Of Costly Wars Over

U.K. British Prime Minister Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May has said Britain and the United States must lead the world as part of their historic special relationship, but the days of starting costly wars like the ones in Afghanistan and Iraq are over.

The United States and Britain must together face new challenges that threaten to "eclipse the West," including the threat of Islamic extremism, the rise of China, and a resurgent Russia, she said in an address to U.S. Republican lawmakers on January 26.

"So we -- our two countries together -- have a responsibility to lead. Because when others step up as we step back, it is bad for America, for Britain and the world," May said.

"This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over. But nor can we afford to stand idly by when the threat is real and when it is in our own interests to intervene. We must be strong, smart, and hard-headed."

May defended the Iranian nuclear deal that U.S. President Donald Trump has denounced, but said it should be "very carefully and rigorously policed."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters