Britain's Theresa May says Queen Elizabeth invited Trump for state visit
Britain's Queen Elizabeth has invited US President Donald Trump for a state visit later this year and he has accepted, British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Friday (Saturday NZT).
May was speaking at a news conference in Washington during the first visit to the White House by a foreign leader since Trump's inauguration a week ago.
"I have today been able to convey Her Majesty the Queen's hope that President Trump and the First Lady would pay a state visit to the United Kingdom later this year," May said during the pair's joint press conference.
"I'm delighted that the president has accepted that invitation."
BRITAIN EASIER TO DEAL WITH THAT EU
Trump says his experience as a businessman dealing with Europe was "very, very tough," and "a very bad experience," while dealing with Britain was far smoother.
He says that's why he thinks Britain's exit from the European Union will be "a fantastic thing for the United Kingdom."
Trump says he expects to get along well with May because they both enjoy being around other people. He quipped: "I'm not as brash as you might think."
May says they share a political approach of putting "the interests of ordinary people right up there center-stage."
MAY TAKES TOUGHER STANCE ON RUSSIA
Trump was asked at a joint news conference after his White House meeting with May how close the US is to lifting sanctions on Russia over its incursion into Ukraine.
Trump said it is "very early to be talking about that".
He said the US looks to have a great relationship with all countries, including Russia.
May said Britain wants to see sanctions remain until a 2015 cease-fire agreement for Ukraine is fully implemented.
The British prime minister said Trump reaffirmed both countries' "unshakeable commitment" to the NATO military alliance.
Trump rattled European allies by suggesting NATO is "obsolete" and that the United States might not come to the aid of countries that don't meet targets for their own defence spending.
May's comments after their meeting are meant to put that concern to rest.
She said the two also agreed it is important for member countries to "invest properly to face our shared challenges together".
Trump is pledging support for what he calls a "most special relationship" between the US and Britain.
He said, "The special relationship between our two countries has been one of the great forces in history" for justice and peace.
He said the US "respects the sovereignty of the British people and their right of self-determination" and said both counties understand "that governments must be responsive to everyday working people".
Earlier Trump showed off a bust of Winston Churchill that decorates the Oval Office, saying "it's a great honour" to have the bust back in the Oval Office.
President Barack Obama was criticised for removing the bust of the beloved British prime minister.
- REUTERS AND AP