London, Dec 20: British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke to Donald Trump about their countrys very different positions on Jerusalem, but it was left unclear whether the US President would visit London in February 2018 to open a new American embassy.
The call on Tuesday evening between the two leaders came 13 days after May had announced she would speak to Trump about his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a position at odds with the policy pursued by London and almost all other UN member states, which argue that the fate of the city should be decided in comprehensive negotiations, reports the Guardian.
Asked if the two-week delay amounted to a snub by Trump, a spokesman for May said the pair had “a good relationship”, which included being able to differ on some matters.
“The Prime Minister has always been clear on these matters that part of having a special relationship is that where there are times you don’t agree, you can say so,” the spokesman said.
However, there was still no agreement on a Trump visit to the UK, which had been postponed because of fears that it would trigger mass demonstrations.
The US ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson had said last week that he expected the President to visit London in the new year, raising expectations that he would fly in to open a new $800 million embassy complex in Battersea on the south bank of the Thames.
However, neither the Downing Street nor the White House confirmed a presidential visit, the Guardian reported.
A later statement from Downing Street said that May had offered condolences for Monday’s train derailment in Washington state and that they had “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”.
Downing Street said May reported on progress in Brexit talks and the President and Prime Minister “wished each other a very Merry Christmas and looked forward to keeping in close touch”.
Earlier this month, Trump announced that the US would break with longstanding practice and recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Both Israelis and Palestinians claim the city, and the US and other countries have avoided taking a position on the matter.
The move has isolated Washington from almost all its allies, and forced a rare US veto of a UN Security Council resolution on Monday, when the 14 other council members, including the UK, voted to call for the US recognition of its status as Israeli capital be rescinded.
The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said discussions with London about the visit were continuing.
“We are working with them to finalise the details, which we expect to announce soon,” Sanders said on Tuesday night.