Boris Johnson is foreign secretary: The world reacts

Newspapers and politicians around the world have been reacting to Boris Johnson’s appointment as UK foreign secretary.

Many were surprised, citing his history of faux pas including insulting the president of Turkey and commenting on the US president’s ancestry.

Here we take a look at the response in countries where Mr Johnson will now represent the UK.

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United States

The Washington Post publishes a round-up of “undiplomatic” things Mr Johnson has said during his time in public life.

Image copyright Washington Post

Washington Post writer Ishaan Tharoor also writes that Mr Johnson “has controversially bucked the Western trend and praised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for battling the Islamic State, no matter its parallel campaign of violence on Syria’s civilian population”.Mark Toner, US state department spokesman: “We look forward to engaging with Boris Johnson”

Apparently stifling a laugh on hearing the news of Mr Johnson’s new job, state department spokesman Mark Toner says the US will always work with the UK due to the “special relationship” between the two countries.

“This is a relationship that goes beyond personalities and it is an absolutely critical moment in England’s history but also in the US-UK relationship,” he says.


Image copyright Le Figaro

In France, Le Figaro says the “legendary” Mr Johnson “gives the impression of being guided by opportunism”.

The newspaper says the UK’s new foreign secretary’s political career has seen him change his mind on gay marriage and on Turkey joining the EU.


Der Spiegel took an editorial line against Brexit and published a “Please don’t go” issue aimed at the UK in the run-up to its EU referendum.

The news magazine (in German) calls Mr Johnson a “controversial politician” and notes that his decision to support a Leave vote was a deciding factor in the referendum campaign, which Leave won with 52% of the vote.

Image copyright Der Spiegel

The German journalist Laura Schneider points to a certain amount of mirth on television as presenters announce Mr Johnson’s new role.

Image copyright @alauraschneider


The head of the Russian State Duma’s foreign affairs committee, Aleksey Pushkov, tweets that Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Philip Hammond, has “painful anti-Russian complexes” that he hopes Mr Johnson does not share.

Image copyright @Alexey_Pushkov

Mr Hammond said last year that Russia had the potential to be “the single greatest threat” to UK security and that President Vladimir Putin was “bent not on joining the international rules-based system which keeps the peace between nations, but on subverting it”.

The Russian news website calls Mr Johnson “one of the most eccentric politicians in the UK” and says he “knows how to surprise”.

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Image copyright Haber Turk

The newspaper Haber Turk mentions Mr Johnson’s appointment but does not mention the limerick he penned insulting Turkey’s president.


Image copyright The Australian

Newspaper The Australian calls Mr Johnson “gaffe-prone”, prints a list of his gaffes, and says his appointment is “an astonishing comeback” after he bowed out of the race to become prime minister.