Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson refuses to attend the European Union special meeting called to discuss the victory of US President-elect Donald Trump.
“The Foreign Secretary will not attend the meeting convened for Sunday,” said a foreign office spokesman on Saturday.
But Johnson would attend a regular Foreign Affairs Council meeting the following day, according to the spokesman, who said “a range of issues can be discussed in the normal way.”
“We do not see the need for an additional meeting on Sunday because the US election timetable is long established,” he added. “An act of democracy has taken place, there is a transition period and we will work with the current and future administrations to ensure the best outcomes for Britain.”
On Friday, Johnson said that Trump’s election risked upsetting EU ties with the US “fundamentally and structurally.”
“We will need to teach the president-elect what Europe
is and how it works,” Johnson said adding that two years would be wasted while Trump “tours a world he doesn’t know.”
Following Trump’s victory in the US presidential race, Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump had a phone conversation during which both stressed “the US-UK relationship was very important and very special and that building on this would be a priority for them both.”
May congratulated Trump on his victory and the president-elect invited her to visit Washington “as soon as possible,” Downing Street said in a statement on Thursday.
“The prime minister said that we have a long history of shared values….highlighted her wish to strengthen bilateral trade and investment with the US as we leave the EU,” said the statement.
A senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Social Democrat coalition partner, Axel Schafer, however, said that chances for “a speedy and preferential trade deal between the UK and US… seems delusional.”
But a former Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, said there is a “real opportunity” for Britain to “reinvigorate” its relationship with Washington. He said leaving the EU “means we are now freer to make arrangements.”
Britons voted to leave the European Union on June 23, after 43 years of membership. The vote called Brexit sent shockwaves throughout the world and prompted the EU members to call on the UK to officially begin the withdrawal process as soon as possible.