US Secretary of State Tillerson sweeps into Downing Road

Violet Powell
January 23, 2018

Opening a almost weeklong trip to Europe on Monday amid a government shutdown back home, Tillerson went to the embassy to greet US ambassador to Britain Robert Wood Johnson.

Tillerson is seeking British and French support for tough new penalties against Iran that could prevent a USA withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

More than a year into his presidency, Trump has yet to visit London, with many Britons vowing to protest against a man they see as crude, volatile and opposed to their values on a range of issues. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in response that the deal could not be renegotiated.

He added: 'President Trump has had highly successful visits to France, Germany, Japan, China, and other countries.

"On January 21, he will arrive in London, where he will meet with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and National Security Advisor Mark Sedwill to discuss our cooperation on issues of mutual concern around the world, including Iran, Syria, Libya, the DPRK and Ukraine", Nauert said at a briefing in Washington, D.C., on January 18, 2018.

That relationship has been tested in recent months, with May and Donald Trump butting heads on Twitter after the President retweeted a video posted by far right group Britain First. Asked about an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, he said: "At some point we're going to do it, but there's no urgency to do that". "We also view this as the special relationship. Sometimes we forget about the importance of our own relationship", Tillerson said at a news conference about the historical bond between the the USA and Britain.

They also touched on one of their most pressing diplomatic challenges: disagreement over the future of a landmark global deal to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions.

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United States ambassador Woody Johnson brushed off Trump's criticism of the building, telling reporters: "The embassy actually is going to really work". The invitation was accepted, but no date for the visit has been set. As an economic relationship with a single country, we have nothing like it'.

The decision fuelled fears in Downing Street the relationship had gone cold amid ugly spats with Prime Minister Theresa May. "I treasure Boris' relationship with me personally", he said.

"It is always worth saying that the relationship between the United States and the UK is absolutely fundamental to our diplomacy but also to our economy", he said.

"We'll do that when the time is right".

"They discussed the continuing depth and breadth of the special relationship", a spokesperson said.

"They agreed on the importance of the worldwide community coming together to counter Iran's destabilizing regional activity, and the prime minister reiterated the U.K.'s commitment to the Iran nuclear deal".

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a news briefing on Thursday no "ribbon-cutting ceremony" by Tillerson was now scheduled during his January 21-23 London visit before the World Economic forum in Davos.

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