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Published: Sun, July 17, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Boris Johnson sets out post-Brexit foreign policy vision


New prime minister May, who took over from David Cameron, surprisingly named him to the key post of foreign secretary, in a move that signaled her desire to unify Conservative Party ranks after the bruising referendum battles in which Britain last month voted to leave the EU.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier has previously criticized Johnson and other leading backers of Britain's exit from the EU.

"They will meet on Sunday evening for their first encounter", Commission spokeswoman Catherine Ray said of Johnson and Mogherini.

The diplomatic world is preparing for the landing of Boris.

France's foreign secretary, Jean-Marc Ayrault, was equally scathing.

On her first full day in office, May dismantled Cameron's affluent metropolitan clique, dubbed the "Notting Hill set" after the former prime minister's trendy West London neighborhood. It was a reference to how May, during her time as home secretary, prohibited Johnson from deploying his newly bought German water cannons on the streets of London over safety fears, publicly shaming him.

The former London mayor, speaking outside the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in central London, said Brexit did not mean leaving Europe.

Johnson shrugged off in his typically colourful fashion the European expressions of horror at his appointment.

Steinmeier told ZDF television Thursday evening: "Boris Johnson is a shrewd politician, experienced enough - he knows that he faces different tasks now".

That time the London mayor was caught on a zipwire.

Johnson disappeared from public view in the days after the referendum and instead played cricket at a friend's country estate.

Hodder & Stoughton declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Mr Johnson.

"After a vote like the referendum result on June 23, it's inevitable that there is going to be a certain amount of plaster coming off the ceilings in the chancelleries of Europe", Johnson said.

"I have to say that the gentleman you mentioned, the French foreign minister, in fact has sent me a charming letter just a couple of hours ago saying how much he looked forward to working together and to deepening Anglo-French cooperation on all sorts of areas". She rewarded Johnson with the plum job of foreign secretary.

Asked by a reporter whether he would apologize to President Obama for controversially saying the "part-Kenyan" president was biased against Britain because of "an ancestral dislike of the British empire", Johnson said: "The United States of America will be in the front of the queue". The two will meet Monday in Brussels.

A planned dinner for him and his 27 counterparts to discuss Brexit would have been a starting point, but the event was cancelled, without official explanation. In Europe's complex decision-making system, foreign ministers typically focus on EU relations with the rest of the world, not issues within the union's borders.

Foreign ministers are likelier to be found heading far-away missions to places such as Papua New Guinea - which Johnson once suggested boasted orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing - or Washington.

On other hand, the former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott tweeted: "Good to see @BorisJohnson as the new United Kingdom foreign secretary".

When it comes to U.S. Democrats and Republicans, Johnson seems an equal opportunity offender.

Gone, too, was Michael Gove, the justice secretary who many Tories believe betrayed former ally Johnson by running for Conservative leader himself - a job Johnson had long sought.

"His negative comments on Erdogan and Turkey are unacceptable... Please God help us".

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