As well as hosting the Irish Taoiseach for a bilateral in Downing Street today, the Prime Minister has taken a number of congratulatory calls from foreign leaders, underlining Britain’s strong relations with countries around the world.
A common theme that emerged in the phone calls from Prime Minister Key of New Zealand, Prime Minister Abe of Japan, Prime Minister Modi of India, Prime Minister Sharif of Pakistan and King Abdullah of Jordan is the importance that they all attach to their partnership with the United Kingdom and their wish to further strengthen co-operation, whether on trade, security or across the board.
The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Key discussed the importance of the Five Eyes alliance, particularly in the context of the terrorist threat facing the world today. They also discussed the bilateral trading relationship; the Prime Minister confirmed that the UK would continue to support an EU-New Zealand free trade agreement and she welcomed Prime Minister Key’s suggestion of starting discussions on a free trade agreement between our two countries early on.
Trade and investment also featured strongly in the conversation with Prime Minister Modi who expressed his hope that the relationship would become even stronger and closer in the future, particularly given the shared values and common interest. The Prime Minister pointed out that the launch next month of the first rupee-denominated bond in London is a concrete example of our close and growing economic cooperation and underlines that the city remains a global hub for innovative finance. The Prime Minister also emphasised the UK’s continued commitment to our defence and security partnership and support for India’s increasing role in international fora. Finally, both welcomed the valuable contribution of the Indian diaspora to the UK.
The Prime Minister began her call to Prime Minister Abe by expressing her condolences for the tragic loss of life in the knife attack at Sagamihara. They also talked about the importance of our co-operation on a range of global issues as well as the deepening of our defence and economic relations. The Prime Minister underlined the importance that we attach to Japanese investment into the UK, reflecting that Softbank’s proposed investment in ARM Holdings was a vote of confidence in the UK as a place to do business.
Prime Minister Sharif said that the Pakistani government and people greatly value their country’s long association with the UK as a close ally and trusted partner. The Prime Minister reaffirmed our commitment to supporting Pakistan’s democratic development, noting the progress Prime Minister Sharif has made in restoring economic stability and improving security. The Prime Minister concluded that Britain would continue to be a close and dependable friend of Pakistan.
In the last call of the day, the Prime Minister spoke to King Abdullah and thanked him for Jordan’s role in the coalition to counter Daesh and to respond to the plight of the Syrian people. They both agreed that the partnership between our countries is a vital cornerstone of the international effort to bring stability to Syria.