Boris Johnson, the new eccentric Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom and leader of the current Brexit movement made his first visit to the United Nations on July 22. He attended a Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya and spoke with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about the issues facing the world today.
“[Mr. Ban and I] talked about the problems in Syria, we talked about Sudan, about Yemen–all the areas that are affected by the problems that I’ve just described. We talked about Libya, Somalia, and I wish to stress to you that these are all countries in which the United Kingdom is playing a leading role,” said the Foreign Minister at the Security Council stakeout following his meeting with the Secretary General and the SC meeting that he participated in.
Upon entering the Security Council, a little after 3PM, Johnson greeted the diplomats, shaking the hands of Security Council President Koro Bessho and Permanent Representative of Russia Vitaly Churkin. Johnson briefly spoke on behalf of the UK’s support for the Security Council resolution which will transfer chemical weapons out of Libya to be demolished. The messy-haired minister raised his hand in favor of the resolution that passed unanimously. Immediately he and his team left the Security Council to speak with Ban Ki-moon and later the press.
Johnson opened his press statement with condolences to the victims of the shooting in Munich, Germany which has claimed 10 deaths so far and is unfolding by the hour. The minister used this incident that appears to be (though not confirmed) a terrorist attack to spotlight the fact that “we have a global phenomenon now.”
“[We have] a global sickness that we have to tackle both at source in the areas where the cancer is being incubated in the Middle East, but also of course around the world,” the Foreign Minister stated. He added that the world needs to deal with “the symptoms and the process of radicalization.” Shortly after, he briefly touched on his meeting with Mr. Ban as journalists eagerly waited to ask the contentious minister questions.
Johnson was immediately asked about his vision for Brexit. The minister responded, “People should understand this is not Britain leaving Europe more widely understood…We are going to be more committed than ever before to cooperation and participation and support for other European countries, whether through defense policy coordination, or foreign policy, or counter terrorism which we’ve just been discussing, or intelligence sharing in which the UK is a super power.”
“The UK is going to be more visible, more active, more energetic than ever before,” he added.
Seen as U.S. Republican nominee Donald Trump’s British counterpart in his call for less political correctness, his criticism of Hillary Clinton, and his strikingly similar appearance and behavior, Minister Johnson was asked by Voice of America reporter Margaret Basheer what he thinks of Mr. Trump and whether Trump’s call for America to focus on its own issues parallels the goals of the Brexit movement.
Refusing to “venture an opinion on the domestic election” taking place in the United States, Johnson went on to stress a “very, very strong contrast on Brexit and any kind of isolationism.” He asserted that this “was the whole purpose of coming here…Brexit means us being more outward-looking, more engaged, more energetic, more enthusiastic and committed on the world stage than ever before.”
The minister justified his statement by highlighting the resolution he had voted for in the Security Council just an hour prior, which he claimed was a great privilege.
As Trump’s doppelgänger left the podium, journalists showered him with more questions about Yemen, Turkey, and the issues he had just discussed, but without any luck. The strange man exited with his team, leaving us curious journalists hungry for more. But he will be back–at least that’s what we think…