Brexit will not change military alliance 'at all' says US defence secretary

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Brexit will not change "at all" the UK's close military alliance with the United States, the country's defence secretary Ash Carter has said.

Mr Carter was speaking alongside Defence Secretary Michael Fallon following talks ahead of an international peacekeeping summit in London.

The two men signed a new agreement to enhance what Mr Fallon described as "unparalleled" co-operation on cyber-security.

And the UK Defence Secretary confirmed that the US will deploy F-35 fighter planes on board the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth when it comes into operation in 2021 - with UK planes expected to do the same on US vessels "in the fullness of time".

Mr Carter told reporters at a press conference in Lancaster House: "President (Barack) Obama and I and many other Americans know we can continue to count on a strong UK to be a staunch ally.

"That was true the day before the Brexit vote and it's true today.

"Thanks to the steps we are taking together as allies, thanks to all the UK is doing to promote stability worldwide, thanks to its continued commitment - as expressed in its Strategic Review and its funding commitments - thanks to our continued work together to uphold the principle of international order, we will remain that well into the future."

He added: "The United States respects the decision of the British people on Brexit and we are committed to continue and build upon our broad-ranging military, political and economic co-operation.

"That's because Brexit does not change at all, all that our countries have to do together, it doesn't change all that binds our people together.

"And it certainly does not change how we will partner together to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities and defend the principle of order in a rapidly-changing world and amidst new threats to the trans-Atlantic community."

Mr Fallon also announced that the first of the 250 military trainers which he committed in June to allied operations against Islamic State in Iraq have now started arriving in the country.