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Obama Urges Britons to Stay in EU
   2016-04-23 10:05:17    Xinhua      Web Editor: Li Cong

Visiting U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday voiced his support for Britain to remain in the European Union (EU), in a message certain to be attacked by Brexit campaigners.

Obama said he was speaking "with the candor of a friend" in a message published in the Daily Telegraph, one of the leading broadsheet newspapers in the country. He began a three-day visit to Britain late on Thursday.

However, it is most likely to cut no ice with critics who will insist he is a head of state and should not intervene in the domestic affairs of Britain, particularly the June referendum on EU membership.

However, Brexit supporter London Mayor Boris Johnson also had a message for the U.S. president.

"Britain and America can be better friends than ever, Mr. Obama, if we leave the EU," Johnson wrote in the Sun newspaper.

Johnson also wrote that the United States would never surrender so much power to Brussels.

Though Obama said the decision on EU membership was to be made by the British people, he pulled no punches in offering his own friendly advice.

Obama acknowledged that the timing of his visit to Britain was controversial, but he joked that it was because he wanted to personally say happy 90th birthday to Queen Elizabeth II.

"I will say, with the candor of a friend, that the outcome of your decision is a matter of deep interest to the United States. The tens of thousands of Americans who rest in Europe's cemeteries are a silent testament to just how intertwined our prosperity and security truly are. And the path you choose now will echo in the prospects of today's generation of Americans as well," Obama wrote.

The U.S. president said a strong Europe is not a threat to Britain's global leadership but instead enhances it.

He also said that Britain has benefited from its membership in the EU, as it provides enormous opportunities to be inside a single market, which is good for creating jobs, trade and economic growth.

"This kind of cooperation -- from intelligence sharing and counterterrorism to forging agreements to create jobs and economic growth -- will be far more effective if it extends across Europe," he said. "Now is a time for friends and allies to stick together."

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