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Cleverly aims to persuade US and Canada to send tanks to Ukraine on trip to North America

As Foreign Secretary James Cleverly embarks on a two-day visit to the USA and Canada, Ukraine will be at the top of his agenda.

Before his departure, Mr Cleverly stated that the United Kingdom, USA, and Canada have always had each other’s backs, and they have been protecting the rules-based order for almost 80 years.

He said, “Today, we stand united against Putin’s illegal war, but we will continue to use the unique strength of our defence and security ties in order to ensure that the Ukrainian people win in the end.”

He will give a keynote address at Washington’s Centre for Strategic and International Studies. At this speech, he will outline Britain’s foreign policies priorities and then meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. They will then hold a joint press conference.


Monday’s announcement by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was that British tanks, artillery pieces, and armoured vehicle were to be sent to Ukraine.

Cleverly will use the British pledge to convince the Americans and Canadians to follow his lead. He will stress the importance of quickly delivering the necessary battlefield tools to Ukraine to enable them to win the war.

Over the past 11 months, the United States has delivered weaponry worth billions to Ukraine. However, this was only in carefully controlled tranches that have limited capabilities for Russia.

Image James Cleverly & Anthony Blinken met up in New York in September 2022

Prime Minister Rishi Sonak stated that he is committed in accelerating the UK’s diplomatic, military and financial assistance to Ukraine as Russia prepares for a new offensive.

This week, President Biden’s top team members are visiting the Ukrainian capital for meetings with President Zelenskyy.

After meetings in Germany, Poland, and where they discussed continuing US support for Ukraine, Antony Blinken’s deputy Wendy Sherman (Dr. Colin Kahl), and Jon Finer (principal deputy national security advisor) are now all in Kyiv.

The British government is hopeful that the US will discuss the unfinished UK-US trade agreement with them, even if it’s not in Ukraine.

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On Wednesday, Cleverly will be in Toronto to discuss British efforts for membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is a key free trade deal between 11 countries, including Canada.

Although Britain has completed the final phase of CPTPP accession but there are still disagreements over the level of market access that Britain would receive from other members.

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Discussions between Mr Cleverly & Mr Blinken will also include Northern Ireland. The UK will seek US support as speculation builds that there may be a compromise between the EU and UK over the Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.

Biden has shown that he is interested in the negotiations regarding Northern Ireland. He has also made it clear that the UK’s handling could affect the prospects of a US-UK trade agreement.

Cleverly is a difficult job

Since he was made foreign secretary last year, this is James Cleverly’s most important trip.

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

He is comfortable in his own skin, and confident in his brief. This makes him a popular member of the Foreign Office, and, it seems to me, also a favorite among his counterparts in foreign countries.

He is Britain’s top diplomat and has a difficult job. The UK’s global standing is declining. As the world looks on, the usually stable Britain is taken aback by our faltering politics and sputtering economy.

Cleverly will push for progress on the US-UK trade agreement and try to reassure Americans that Britain is close to a solution for Northern Ireland. Biden, who is Irish-born, is closely watching. The shadow of Brexit is large.

Cleverly will focus on Ukraine.

Rishi Sunak’s government tries to fill the void left by Boris Johnson’s departure. Johnson’s uncompromising stance in defense of Ukraine was well-received by Western countries.

This trip will include an effort to demonstrate clear British leadership and to encourage deeper, more rapid international alignment in the Ukraine.

According to Cleverly, he will try to convince his American and Canadian counterparts to allow Ukraine the tools it needs for victory. Not just to keep the frontline.

The British tank, artillery, and armoured vehicle consignments will not make a significant difference to the battlefield. Prepare for the destruction of the Russian propaganda image, Challenger 2, which is highly prized.

The British hope that the tank package will encourage other countries to follow their lead with their equipment.

Cleverly will tell Ukraine to arm properly and that it can be done sooner than expected with a weak Russia forced into negotiations.

The Americans have sent enormous amounts of lethal equipment and weapons to Ukraine, changing the course of war. They have not yet sent tanks or mechanized artillery to Ukraine, but they could send armoured vehicles that could repel Russian advances.

Putin’s response to Western-led arming of Ukraine has always been one of fear. As a result, America has delivered more than it was ready to.

However, Biden is being pressed by Congress to justify his Ukraine spending. Legislators on Capitol Hill want to see audits and evidence that America supports a winner and not prolonging the conflict.


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