Johnson says United Kingdom to play bigger role in Europe

Reaction from Britain, Europe and beyond to the appointment of prominent anti-European Union campaigner Boris Johnson as British foreign secretary.

Diplomatic is not a word often associated with Boris Johnson, new British Prime Minister Theresa May's surprise choice for foreign minister.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have pledged to work closely together as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies to address challenges and meet responsibilities around the world, according to the State Department.

On Monday, Johnson is expected to sit down in a formal day-long meeting with his EU peers, with issues on the agenda ranging from EU-China ties to migration policy in Africa.

May appointed other Brexit supporters to major Cabinet posts, Wednesday, including former Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond as finance minister and Amber Rudd to May's old job of home secretary.

After six years as Cameron's interior minister, May was viewed as a safe pair of hands to replace him, but began with a cull of some of her former cabinet colleagues.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault branded his British counterpart "a liar" in an interview Thursday with the popular Europe-1 radio network.

But in a Britain buffeted by fallout from last month's vote to leave the European Union, some saw the move as a canny means of appeasing an electoral majority that had voted, by a 52%-48% margin, in favor of "Brexit" - while at the same time holding the "Leave" camp accountable for the referendum result. "It's also bitter for the European Union".

Some European leaders took a welcoming tack, like Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who tweeted that he looked forward to working with Johnson.

The rambunctious former mayor of London has insulted or lampooned a series of world leaders including United States President Barack Obama, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and both the Democratic and Republican candidates to succeed Obama.

The French Foreign Minister called Jean-Marc Ayrault a liar, saying, "I am not anxious about Boris Johnson but you know very well what his style is like, his method". He said another bust of Churchill that had been on loan from the British government had been returned to Britain.

In a short session with reporters outside the British Foreign Office on Thursday, Johnson shrugged off in his typically colorful fashion the European expressions of horror at his appointment.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier has previously criticized Johnson and other leading backers of Britain's exit from the EU.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Thursday: "We must let Her Majesty's new government have a bit of time to make the necessary decisions".

Mr Johnson, who was appointed to the senior diplomatic post yesterday by new Prime Minister Theresa May, will be expected to represent the United Kingdom overseas and oversee relations with the wider world in his new role. But she decided to make him Foreign Secretary largely to ensure that he will not be able to foment another rebellion in the Conservative Party.

The spokeswoman said current relations "could hardly be described as cooperation", adding that Russian Federation "will not miss [Philip] Hammond", Britain's former foreign secretary and new chancellor of the exchequer.

"I need a partner with whom I can negotiate and who is clear, credible and reliable".

Hammond was one of Prime Minister Theresa May's first appointments, and one of his immediate tasks was to take to the airwaves in hopes of offering calming tones of reassurance to the markets and the general public about the economy.

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