UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss gives a combative address to ambassadors attending the Easter Banquet at Mansion House
Ambassadors and High Commissioners gathered at Mansion House for the first Lord Mayor’s Easter Banquet in two years to listen to a major speech by UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in which she took a hard line on standing up to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
“We are doubling down. We will keep going further and faster to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine,” she said, warning that to succeed would be a “long haul”.
To those concerned that tough talking could lead to an escalation in the conflict, she said: “Britain has always stood up to bullies. We have always been risk takers.”
The Foreign Secretary called on liberal democracies to “learn the lessons from Ukraine” and to be “assertive” in the containment of authoritarian regimes: “My vision is a world where aggressors are contained and forced to take a better path.”
Countries such as Finland and Sweden wishing to join NATO in response to Russian aggression should be allowed to do so “as soon as possible,” she said, and defence capabilities in the Western Balkans and countries like Moldova and Georgia should be bolstered.
The Foreign Secretary went further, arguing for a “global NATO” where NATO works more closely with like-minded partners and alliances to tackle global threats in other regions, such as the Indo-Pacific.
Rules-based global economy
On the dire economic consequences of the Ukraine conflict, Truss said more would be done to assist low-income countries devastated by the impact of high energy prices. Calling on liberal democracies to “wise-up” and reduce their strategic dependence on aggressors, she added that “access to the global economy must depend on playing by the rules”.
In his Easter Banquet address, the Lord Mayor of London Vincent Keaveny said the attack on Ukraine was “an attack on the international rule of law”. He added that the City of London was supporting the UK government by “enforcing the most effective possible sanctions” and through the work of the City of London Police which was at the forefront of combatting money laundering, economic and cyber crime.
Tribute to Dean
The evening was also a chance to pay tribute to the much-admired Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, the Ambassador of Kuwait Khaled Al Duwaisan. When the Dean hinted in his speech that his 29-year posting to the UK was drawing to a close, ambassadors and City of London grandees spontaneously rose to give him a rousing standing ovation.
Main Photo: Foreign Secretary Liz Truss addresses diplomats at the Lord Mayor’s Easter Banquet