May, Trump talk Jerusalem, Brexit in call

UK and US leaders speak for first time since clashing over Trump retweeting far right propaganda

Image Credit: AFP

US President Donald Trump (2L) and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May at the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany in July 2017.

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump “agreed on the importance of a swift post-Brexit bilateral trade deal” during talks Tuesday, her Downing Street office said.

The leaders discussed a future trade deal between the two countries during a phone call which focused on several other issues including occupied Jerusalem, a spokesman said.

It was their first conversation since a rare public row erupted in November after May criticised Trump’s retweeting of a fringe British far-right leader’s anti-Muslim messages, which provoked an angry response from the president.

“The prime minister updated the president on the recent good progress of the Brexit negotiations, and the president set out the progress he had made on his economic agenda,” the spokesman said.

“They agreed on the importance of a swift post-Brexit bilateral trade deal.”

Earlier Tuesday, May chaired the first detailed cabinet discussion on Britain’s future trade ties, after European Union leaders last week approved an interim agreement on the terms of their separation, and agreed to move talks on to trade next year.

London wants to secure “the best possible trading terms with the EU” that enable Britain “to set rules that are right for our situation and facilitates ambitious third-country trade deals,” Downing Street said after the meeting.

The transatlantic phone call also touched on Trump’s controversial recognition of occupied Jerusalem as the Israeli capital earlier in December, which May previously called “unhelpful” and said the British government disagreed with.

“They discussed the different positions we took on the recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, and agreed on the importance of the US bringing forward new proposals for peace and the international community supporting these efforts,” the Downing Street spokesman added.


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