Ukraine is high on the agenda as Secretary of State James Cleverly begins a two-day visit to the United States and Canada.
Speaking ahead of his departure, Mr Cleverley said: “Britain, America and Canada have always had each other’s back when it counted, protecting the rules-based order for nearly 80 years.”
He added: “Today we are united against Putin’s illegal war, and we will continue to use our unique defense and security relationship to ensure that the Ukrainian people ultimately win.”
He will deliver a keynote speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, where he will outline Britain’s foreign policy priorities ahead of talks with his US counterpart, Secretary of State Antony Blanken. After that, both will hold a joint news conference.
On Monday, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced that British tanks, artillery pieces and armored vehicles Will be sent to Ukraine..
Mr Cleverley is ready to use this British pledge to persuade Americans and Canadians to follow Britain’s lead. He is expected to emphasize the need to urgently provide the right battlefield tools to allow the Ukrainians to win the war.
The Americans have delivered billions of dollars worth of arms to Ukraine over the past 11 months, but only in carefully managed installments with limited capacity for fear of provoking Russia.
Prime Minister Rishi Singh has said he is committed to stepping up UK diplomatic and military aid to Ukraine as Russia prepares to launch a new offensive.
Top members of President Biden’s team are in the Ukrainian capital this week for meetings with President Zelensky.
Anthony Blanken’s deputy, Wendy Sherman, Dr. Colin Cahill, the undersecretary of defense for policy, and Jon Feiner, the principal deputy national security adviser, are all in Kyiv after meetings in Germany and Poland where they discussed continued U.S. support for Ukraine. Discussed.
Beyond Ukraine, the British government hopes to discuss a US-UK trade deal with the Americans in Washington.
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In Toronto on Wednesday, Mr Cleverley is due to discuss Britain’s bid to become a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a major free trade agreement between 11 countries, including Canada.
The UK has reached the final stage of accession to the CPTPP, but existing members remain divided over the level of market access to the UK.
Northern Ireland will also feature in talks between Mr Cleverly and Mr Blanken. As speculation mounts that an EU-UK deal on the Brexit Northern Ireland protocol could be imminent, Britain will seek the support of the US.
President Biden has taken a keen interest in negotiations over Northern Ireland and has made it clear that Britain’s handling of the issue could affect the prospects for a US-UK trade deal.
Consciousness is a difficult task.
It is James Cleverly’s most important visit since he became Foreign Secretary last year.
He was appointed by Liz Truss but survived the chaos and was retained by Rishi Sink. He quickly built a reputation for impressive diplomacy.
Comfortable in his own skin and visibly confident in his brief, he is popular in the Foreign Office and seems to be well-liked by his counterparts in foreign capitals.
But as Britain’s top diplomat, he has a tough job. Britain’s global position is declining. The world has looked in awe at a generally stable Britain as our politics decay and our economy disintegrates.
Prudence will push forward progress on a US-UK trade deal and try to reassure Americans that Britain is now close to a viable solution for Northern Ireland. Biden, with his Irish roots, is watching closely. Brexit’s shadow is long.
But Ukraine will push for the smart.
Rishi Singh’s government is trying to fill the hole left by Boris Johnson’s departure. Johnson’s clear stance on the defense of Ukraine was praised in the West.
The trip will seek to encourage clear British leadership and deeper, faster international alignment on Ukraine.
We’re told Cleverly will try to convince his American and Canadian counterparts that now is the time to give Ukraine the tools it needs to win the war, not just hold the front line. .
British shipments of tanks, artillery and armored vehicles would do nothing by themselves to change the picture of the battlefield. In fact, prepare for a charred and battered Russian propaganda image of Challenger 2.
Britain hopes its tank package will encourage other countries to follow suit.
The prudent message would be: arm Ukraine properly now and it could be over sooner rather than forcing a weak Russia to negotiate.
The Americans have sent huge amounts of lethal weapons to Ukraine, turning the tide of the war. But they have not yet sent tanks, machine guns or armored vehicles to repel the Russian advance.
Fear, always, has been Putin’s response to full Western arming of Ukraine. And so, little by little, America has increased what it is prepared to provide.
But Biden is under growing domestic congressional pressure to justify his Ukraine spending. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers want audits and evidence that the U.S. is backing a winner rather than simply prolonging conflict and bloodshed.
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