Obama says US respects UK decision to leave EU

President Barack Obama listens to a reporters question during a joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Friday, April 22, 2016, at 10 Downing Street, Cameron's official residence in London. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States respects the decision of the people of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, President Barack Obama said Friday, insisting that the special relationship between Washington and London will endure.

In his first public reaction to the vote, Obama said the people of the U.K. had spoken. Obama had strongly urged that the UK remain in the EU, and the decision is a significant blow to his efforts to counter the isolationist viewpoints taking hold in many parts of the world.

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“The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship to ensure continued stability, security, and prosperity for Europe, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the world,” Obama said.

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Obama’s comments came in a written statement issued by the White House while the president was traveling in California.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton issued the following statement Friday morning:

We respect the choice the people of the United Kingdom have made. Our first task has to be to make sure that the economic uncertainty created by these events does not hurt working families here in America. We also have to make clear America’s steadfast commitment to the special relationship with Britain and the transatlantic alliance with Europe. This time of uncertainty only underscores the need for calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House to protect Americans’ pocketbooks and livelihoods, to support our friends and allies, to stand up to our adversaries, and to defend our interests. It also underscores the need for us to pull together to solve our challenges as a country, not tear each other down.”

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