WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated he hopes to go to the controversial new U.S. embassy when he visits London subsequent week, however the State Department stated it had not been determined whether or not he would formally open the constructing.
U.S. President Donald Trump canceled a visit to London to open the embassy scheduled for subsequent month, saying he didn’t wish to endorse a foul deal agreed by the Obama administration to promote the outdated one for “peanuts.”
Speaking to reporters whereas flying again to Washington from a visit to the North American west coast on Wednesday, Tillerson didn’t reply when requested if he would formally open the controversial constructing, however stated he hoped to go there.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert informed a news briefing on Thursday no “ribbon-cutting ceremony” by Tillerson was at present scheduled throughout his Jan. 21-23 London go to.
While the deal on the sale of the outdated embassy website was concluded beneath President Barack Obama, the choice to maneuver from Grosvenor Square in up-market Mayfair to the south financial institution of the Thames was agreed in 2008 beneath Republican President George W. Bush.
Nauert stated the brand new embassy opened this week and the majority of workers had moved from the outdated constructing.
Trump addressed the controversy once more on the finish of a wide-ranging interview with Reuters on Wednesday, complaining that the brand new constructing “came out tremendously over budget.”
“So now we have an embassy that cost $1.2 billion, I think it was much more than that … in the wrong location.”
“Just so you understand, it started in the Bush term, but the deal was made in the Obama term and the deal was built in the Obama term,” Trump stated.
Asked whether or not he would go to Britain this yr, Trump stated, “they’ve invited me,” however didn’t elaborate. He stated his relationship with Britain was “very good.”
Asked if he agreed with Trump that the embassy transfer had been a mistake, Tillerson stated: “That’s a decision that’s already been taken, so I don’t think we need to revisit it.”
The cancellation of Trump’s journey was an extra blow to relations between Britain and the United States, for lengthy the closest of allies. More than a yr into his presidency, Trump has but to go to London, with many Britons vowing to protest in opposition to a person they see as crude, risky and against their values on a spread of points.
Tillerson rejected the suggestion that Trump may see Britain as much less helpful now that it was embroiled in Brexit and different political points.
”No, by no means,“ he said. ”I imply, we nonetheless have the particular relationship with the British individuals. As you understand, President Trump was supportive of the UK’s exit from the EU. He nonetheless thinks that was the correct resolution for them.
“Britain needs to focus on those Brexit negotiations right now, which is really important to them, and I think the president realizes that’s where Prime Minister May really needs to focus her attention.”
Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Andrea Ricci and James Dalgleish