Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is returning from Washington following meetings with senior US Administration figures focused on the UK and US’s shared efforts to tackle the increasing challenges to democracy throughout the world.
During his visit Jeremy Hunt met Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, National Security Agency Director General Nakasone, acting Presidential Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner.
The Foreign Secretary discussed the developing situation in Venezuela and condemned the announcement by Nicolas Maduro that Venezuela would end diplomatic ties with the United States. He also thanked the US Administration for their support for the two recent UK-drafted resolutions on Yemen in the UN Security Council. The Foreign Secretary and Secretary Pompeo agreed to host a meeting of the ‘quad’ group on Yemen in the margins of the upcoming ministerial meeting on the Middle East in Warsaw in February.
The Foreign Secretary’s visit came as the UK and US jointly announced their intention to impose travel restrictions and other sanctions on any individual found to be illegally interfering in the upcoming Nigerian elections, including by using or encouraging violence in an attempt to influence the elections.
Speaking following his visit, the Foreign Secretary said:
The enduring relationship between the UK and US is not a product of coincidence or historic accident, it is the result of our shared values. These values are at the heart of the foreign policy of both of our countries. And none of these values is more important than respect for democracy – the invisible chain that has bound our countries together throughout history.
Given the threats to democracy we are seeing throughout the world – from the rigged election last year in Venezuela to appalling violations of human rights in Syria to the Houthi coup in Yemen four years ago that gave rise to a devastating civil war – the relationship between the UK and US is more important than ever before. I was pleased to have the chance to discuss that relationship, and the challenges to democracy around the world that we are working together to overcome, in Washington today.
With Secretary Pompeo we agreed today that we would host a meeting in February with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to bolster our support for the Stockholm process and agree next steps for further progress on a political settlement.