Kerry Calls on EU Leaders Not to Seek Brexit Revenge on U.K.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on European Union leaders not to take revenge on Britain for its decision to leave the bloc in last week’s referendum.

Speaking in London on Monday after a meeting with U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Kerry said the U.S. has faith in the governments of Britain and Europe to deliver a well thought-through and sensitive transition in their relationship.

“We have enormous confidence in the quality of leadership on both sides of the channel,” Kerry said. “While there is some uncertainty in the air, leaders have the ability and responsibility to restore certainty, to make wise choices in the days ahead. And that means choices that are, in every way possible, not aimed at retribution, not aimed at anger, but ways that bring people together.”

Kerry, who had earlier visited Brussels to meet with EU leaders, said the U.S. is assessing how the decision to quit the bloc will affect trade. President Barack Obama angered Brexit supporters when he said during the campaign that Britain would go to the “back of the queue” when it came to negotiating a U.S. trade deal if it left the EU.

Shared values mean ties between Britain and the U.S. remain “as strong and crucial as ever,” Kerry said.

Hammond said he could understand the anger on the other side of the English channel, where there are fears that Britain leaving the EU could fuel breakaway movements in other countries.

“The wound is quite raw and it will take some time for the wound to settle down,” he said. “They don’t want to see this become something that will damage the European project, they have to remember we have a great shared economic interest in finding a way to work together in the future.”

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