Kerry reaffirms support for Britain, urges calm

Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryPompeo doubles down on criticism of Kerry: The Iran deal failed, 'let it go' John Kerry: Trump has ‘the insecurity of a teenage girl’ Kerry: Trump should be worried about Manafort talking to Mueller, not me talking to Iranians MORE on Monday reaffirmed support for Britain and sought calm, saying it's important that "nobody loses their head" as officials grapple with the United Kingdom's dramatic vote to leave the European Union.
 
"Good friends are important all of the time, but they are especially important in complex times," Kerry said during a press conference in London alongside his British counterpart, Philip Hammond.
 
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"At this moment of challenge, the United States of America knows that it could not ask for a better friend and ally than the United Kingdom," Kerry added.
 
Kerry emphasized that the U.S. "counts on strong U.K. leadership" in NATO, the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized European democracies, the United Nations Security Council and the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
 
"Ours is frankly a storied history," Kerry said, mentioning efforts between the U.S. and Great Britain going back to World War II, the subsequent effort to rebuild Europe and cooperation in recent decades on economic and security issues in Europe and in other parts of the world.
 
Kerry made his remarks as the leaders of Germany, France and Italy said there would be no negotiations with Britain on its departure from the EU until London formally declares its intention to leave the 28-member economic bloc, according to The Associated Press.
 
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has announced his resignation, said Monday he would honor the vote last week by a majority of the U.K. to leave the EU but added that the next prime minister must begin the formal negotiations to leave.
 
Hammond told reporters there would be no immediate changes affecting EU nationals living in the U.K. or affecting U.K. nationals living in the EU.
 
"It is now incumbent on leaders to implement the will of the people and to do so in a way that is responsible, sensitive, thoughtful, and, I hope, strategic," Kerry said earlier Monday in Brussels alongside the EU's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. "The United States cares about a strong EU.
 
"I think it is absolutely essential that we stay focused on how, in this transitional period, nobody loses their head, nobody goes off halfcocked, people don’t start ginning up scatterbrained or revengeful premises, but we look for ways to maintain the strength that will serve the interests and the values that brought us together in the first place," Kerry said.
 
"The vote did not come out the way President Obama and I and others hoped that it would, but that’s democracy, and we respect the rights of the voters and we respect the process," Kerry said.
 
Earlier Monday, Kerry reaffirmed support for Britain's involvement in NATO.