James Cleverly aims to convince US and Canada to send tanks to Ukraine on North American tour | US News

Ukraine will be at the top of the agenda as Foreign Secretary James Cleverly begins a two-day visit to the US and Canada.

Mr Cleverly said before leaving office: “The UK, the US and Canada have always stood by each other in critical moments, protecting the rules-based order for almost 80 years.”

He continued: “Today we stand united against Putin’s illegal war, and we will continue to leverage our uniquely strong defense and security relationships to ensure the ultimate victory of the Ukrainian people.”

He will deliver a keynote address at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, where he will outline Britain’s foreign policy priorities before talks with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. The two will then hold a joint news conference.

On Monday, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced that Britain’s tanks, artillery and armored vehicles will be sent to Ukraine.

Mr Cleverly will use the UK’s commitment to persuade Americans and Canadians to follow the UK’s lead. He is expected to stress the need to quickly get Ukrainians the right battlefield tools so they can win the war.

The Americans have delivered billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine over the past 11 months, but have carefully managed the batches in limited capacity for fear of angering Russia.

James Cleverly and Anthony Blinken in New York, September 2022
picture:
James Cleverly and Anthony Blinken in New York, September 2022

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said he is committed to speeding up British diplomatic and military aid to Ukraine as Russia prepares for a new offensive.

Senior members of President Biden’s team will meet with President Zelensky this week in the Ukrainian capital.

Antony Blinken’s deputy, Dr. Wendy Sherman, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Carr, and Principal Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Fenner are all in Kyiv after meetings in Germany and Poland , they discussed continued U.S. support for Ukraine.

In addition to Ukraine, the British government also wants to discuss the elusive UK-US trade deal with the Americans in Washington.

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In Toronto on Wednesday, Mr Cleverly will discuss the UK’s efforts to become a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a major free trade agreement between 11 countries including Canada.

The UK is in the final stages of joining the CPTPP, but there is still disagreement over the level of market access for existing members to the UK.

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Northern Ireland will also be the focus of discussions between Mr Cleverly and Mr Blinken. Britain will seek the support of the United States amid growing speculation that an EU-UK compromise may be reached on a deal to leave Northern Ireland.

President Biden is very interested in the Northern Ireland negotiations and has made it clear that the UK’s handling of the issue could affect the chances of a US-UK trade deal.

smart with tricky job

It is James Cleverly’s most important foreign trip since becoming foreign secretary last year.

He was appointed by Liz Truss, but survived the chaos and was retained by Rishi Sunak. He quickly gained a reputation for his impressive diplomacy.

Comfortable in his own skin and confident on the surface of his brief, he is popular in the Foreign Office and seems to be liked by his counterparts in foreign capitals.

But as Britain’s top diplomat, he has a tricky job. Britain’s global standing has declined. With our politics shaky and our economy sluggish, the world has marveled at a generally stable Britain.

Smart people will push for progress on a illusory US-UK trade deal and try to reassure the Americans that the UK is now close to finding a workable solution for Northern Ireland. Biden, who is of Irish descent, is watching closely. The shadow of Brexit is long.

But Ukraine will be the backbone of Cleverly.

Rishi Sunak’s government is trying to fill the vacancy left by Boris Johnson’s departure. Johnson is admired by the West for his blunt stance on defending Ukraine.

The trip will attempt to demonstrate clear UK leadership and initiative to encourage deeper and faster international alignment on Ukraine.

We’re told Cleverly will try to convince his American and Canadian counterparts that now is the time to give Ukraine the tools it needs to win the war, not just stick to the front lines.

The British delivery of tanks, artillery and armored vehicles did not by themselves change the battlefield. Indeed, get ready for precious images of a Russian propaganda Challenger 2 being burned and destroyed.

The British hoped that their tank portfolio would inspire other nations to emulate their equipment.

Cleverly’s message will be: now is the right time for poor Ukraine, and with a weakened Russia forced to negotiate, this can all end sooner.

The Americans sent vast quantities of lethal equipment to Ukraine that changed the course of the war. But they have yet to send tanks, mechanized artillery or armored vehicles to repel the Russian advance.

Fear has been Putin’s response to the West’s full-scale arming of Ukraine. So, little by little, America adds to what it is prepared to offer.

But Biden faces growing domestic congressional pressure to justify his spending in Ukraine. On Capitol Hill, lawmakers want audits and proof that the U.S. is supporting the victors, not simply prolonging the conflict and bloodshed.

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