UNITED NATIONS: Britain's membership on the UN Security Council has become more important for asserting London's global power after the Brexit vote, the British ambassador to the United Nations has said.
"My job just got even bigger," Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters yesterday. "The Security Council, if anything, has become even more important for the UK as an even larger proportion of our total world outlook."
Britain is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council but the vote to quit the European Union will leave France as the sole EU power among the so-called P5 on the top UN body.
Some diplomats expect Britain to move closer to the US position on foreign policy, even though the two countries already are close allies.
Rycroft dismissed suggestion that Britain's membership at the council could be challenged as a result of the Brexit vote, stressing that London retains its veto over any changes that could be proposed. At the council, Britain is leading diplomatic efforts on Libya, Yemen, Sudan's troubled Darfur region, Somalia and Colombia, taking on "penholder" responsibilities for drafting UN resolutions.
Rycroft said he expected Britain to be more active at the United Nations as a prime forum for London's international engagement and pledged to work closely with other European countries.
He also stressed the importance of cooperation to prevent a weakening of the European stance toward Russia. "Russia would be one of the countries that would benefit were there to be a weakening of Europe," said Rycroft.