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US-UK security co-operation is unparalleled — and must remain so

The writer is US ambassador to the Court of St James

It’s an important time for the United Kingdom, which means it’s an important time for the United States and the relationship between our two countries. As Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gets started in No 10, President Joe Biden and I send America’s congratulations.

Now begins the next chapter of our partnership. The US and UK face significant and shared global challenges, from mounting economic pressures to the climate crisis and threats from state and non-state actors alike. We confront these challenges together, driven by our common values and desire to build a brighter future for our citizens.

First, we must look to the economy. The task in front of us is to address present economic challenges, while making the global economy stronger and more resilient for years to come. The US and the UK share the world’s largest bilateral foreign direct investment relationship, topping $1.5tn. This stable flow of transatlantic investment brings enormous benefits to both of our countries, and we must look to capitalise on it. The Biden administration is particularly focused on sustainable, inclusive growth that creates jobs and opportunities for communities that haven’t traditionally prospered from international trade.

Indeed, the US recently made the largest investment to fight climate change in our nation’s history — $370bn — with the aim of supercharging our potential to drive clean growth, bringing down costs for families and giving rise to high-quality jobs for years to come.

This legislation proves how committed we are to accelerating the global clean energy economy and will serve as a platform for our work over the next two weeks at COP27 and beyond. As a diplomat and businesswoman, it is a priority of mine to broaden and deepen our collaboration with the UK on climate change.

Second, our security co-operation should remain unparalleled. The US and the UK have worked in close partnership to support Ukraine in response to Russia’s unprovoked aggression, providing critical security assistance and economic support to Ukraine while holding Russia accountable through sanctions and export controls.

As the war moves into winter, we will continue to work in lockstep with our UK partners to support Ukraine’s heroic defence against Putin’s war of aggression. Through bilateral security co-operation, as well as through Nato and Aukus, we will defend the rules-based international order and the principles we hold dear: freedom, democracy, universal rights and the rule of law.

Third, the US believes that the EU and UK must work constructively and quickly to resolve the challenges over the implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol.

I recently visited Belfast, where leaders from several industries told me a stable and predictable political climate is essential for the future growth of their businesses and communities. Northern Ireland is poised to attract new investment, but companies require certainty and clarity. A prolonged stalemate or an agreement with convoluted and burdensome regulations risks sapping the region of its great potential.

Next spring, we will mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. It remains a stunning achievement to this day, and a reminder of the economic and social progress that only peace and stability can deliver. We recognise that there are differences of opinion over the implementation of the protocol, but we also know that an agreement is possible if all sides bring renewed energy to the task. The US urges all parties to continue negotiating in good faith and keep Northern Ireland’s best interests at heart.

The US has no closer ally than the UK. Our militaries train together, our businesses innovate and grow together, our scientists make discoveries together. Students from all corners of the UK learn at our universities and vice versa. We celebrate each other’s victories because we know our prosperity is linked. That’s what makes our special relationship so special.

We will face challenges ahead, but throughout our long alliance, the foundation of our success has always been the result of close co-operation and friendship. More than anything else, deepening the bond between our countries will be my greatest priority.

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