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May to meet Trump in Washington on Friday

dpa logodpa 21/01/2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet US President Donald Trump in Washington on Friday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will be the first foreign leader to visit new US President Donald Trump, the White House says.

Trump spoke with May to discuss the Friday visit during his first full day in office as he also called the leaders of neighbouring Canada and Mexico.

Trump said earlier the British PM would be "coming over to our country very shortly" as he noted his decision to display a bust of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office.

May says she will stress the importance of NATO and the European Union when she meets new US President Donald Trump, the Financial Times said.

Despite Trump suggesting before his inauguration that NATO was no longer useful, May told the newspaper she believes he "recognises the importance and significance of NATO."

May said: "I'm also confident the USA will recognise the importance of the cooperation we have in Europe to ensure our collective defence and collective security."

She said Britain's Brexit decision "was not a decision about breaking up the EU."

"I want the EU to continue to be strong and I want to continue to have a close and strategic partnership with the EU," she said. "With the threats we face it's not the time for less cooperation."

Britian's Daily Telegraph quoted unidentified sources as saying May plans to fly to Washington on Thursday, potentially making her the first foreign leader to hold face-to-face talks with Trump since his inauguration.

"The visit has been brought forward after Steve Bannon, Mr Trump's chief strategist, reached out to appeal for an early trip," the newspaper said.

The FT said she planned to be "very frank" in discussions with Trump and aimed to build a "very special relationship" between the two governments.

May said she hoped the two sides would be able to prepare the ground for a bilateral trade deal before Britain formally leaves the EU.

Asked about potential difficulties in working with Trump after he was accused of a series of sexist and racist remarks during his election campaign, May said she had been "clear about those areas where I feel some of the comments he has made were unacceptable."

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