Australia has told Britain it hopes it will remain part of the European Union, becoming the latest country to intervene in an emotive domestic debate that may culminate in a referendum to decide if Britain leaves the 28-nation bloc.
Australia's intervention follows calls from the United States and Japan for Britain not to sever its EU ties, and suggests that Cameron's plan to give Britons a vote on the issue is causing unease with some allies. France and Germany have signalled they want to keep Britain in but will resist it trying to "cherry-pick" the EU policies it likes and dropping those it does not.
Australia's contribution came in the form of a letter sent from the office of Foreign Minister Bob Carr published on the website of the British Foreign Office on Monday as part of a review the government is conducting into the country's EU ties. "Australia recognises the UK's strength and resilience and looks forward to seeing it continue as a leading economy and effective power", the letter said. "Strong effective membership of the EU contributes to this."
Australia valued the role that Britain played in shaping EU foreign policy, it added. "I hope to see this continue long into the future", the author, whose name and signature had been blanked out at the bottom, said.
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