Succession Race Starts As Theresa May Quits As Party Leader

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May steps down as leader of her Conservative Party on Friday, formally triggering the race for a successor who will try where she failed to deliver Brexit.

May will remain prime minister until a new leader is chosen, likely in late July, but has relinquished control over the direction of Britain’s tortuous departure from the European Union.

Brexit is still scheduled for October 31 but while her rivals thrash it out, the project remains stuck, with the only divorce plan agreed with Brussels stuck in parliament.

May took office after the 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU and has spent the past three years working on the plan, delaying Brexit twice to try to get it through.

But she finally acknowledged defeat in a tearful resignation speech last month, the culmination of months of political turmoil that has slowly sapped all her authority.

Eleven Conservative MPs are currently vying to replace her, including former foreign minister Boris Johnson, but some are expected to drop out before Monday’s deadline for nominations.

The winner will have only a few months to decide whether to try to salvage May’s plan, delay Brexit again — or sever ties with Britain’s closest trading partner with no agreement at all.

They are under pressure from eurosceptic figurehead Nigel Farage, who has called for a “no deal” option and whose Brexit party topped European polls last month.

His party suffered a setback on Friday after narrowly missing out on winning its first parliamentary seat, losing to Labour in a by-election in the eastern city of Peterborough.

Despite winning, Labour’s vote share fell by 17 percent while the Tories plummeted by 25 percent, highlighting the task facing May’s successor.

Polling guru John Curtice told the BBC that the result showed Britain was now in a “different political world”.

“A lot of constituencies are now looking at four-party politics, and perhaps in others five-party politics,” said a disappointed Farage.

 

– Power shift –

May will formally relinquish her leadership in a private letter to her party on Friday, but no official events are planned to mark the day.

She put on a brave face this week when hosting US President Donald Trump for a state visit, before joining him and other world leaders to mark 75 years since the D-Day landings.

But Trump used the trip to speak with Johnson and other candidates to replace her, emphasising where the political power in Britain now lies.

“She remains prime minister for a good few weeks yet,” May’s spokesman insisted, noting that any successor must meet Queen Elizabeth II and assure the monarch they have the support of enough lawmakers to take over.

He said May would focus on domestic issues, but “in relation to Brexit, the prime minister said it wouldn’t be for her to take this process forward”.

Trump has been highly critical of May’s Brexit strategy and ahead of his visit to Britain, urged her successor to leave the bloc with no deal if necessary.

Johnson, a leading campaigner in the 2016 referendum who quit the government last year over May’s plan, is among several would-be candidates who say they are willing to do this.

But Environment Secretary Michael Gove, another frontrunner, is open to another Brexit delay, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said leaving with no deal is “political suicide”.

Trump had a phone call with Johnson this week and met both Hunt and Farage, although a planned meeting with Gove never materialised.

Nominations for the contest must be submitted on Monday, and the 313 Conservative MPs — including May — will hold the first of a series of secret ballots on June 13.

With the worst performers eliminated each time, the goal is to have two candidates left by June 20. They will then be put to a ballot of an estimated 100,000 party members.

The contest should be completed by the week commencing July 22.

AFP

Theresa May Announces Resignation In Emotional Speech

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation in an emotional address on Friday, ending a dramatic three-year tenure of near-constant crisis over Brexit.

“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” May, her voice breaking, said outside her Downing Street office.

May, 62, said she would step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7.

She would remain as prime minister in a caretaker role until a replacement is elected by the party.

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The leader of the party automatically becomes prime minister.

May, who took charge in the aftermath of the 2016 EU referendum, was forced to make way following a mutiny in her cabinet and Conservative Party over her ill-fated strategy to take Britain out of the European Union.

She will become one of Britain’s shortest-serving post-WWII prime ministers, remembered for presiding over one of the most chaotic periods in the country’s modern political history and for her inability to deliver Brexit.

“I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold — the second female prime minister but certainly not the last,” May said.

“I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love,” she said, appearing close to tears as she turned back abruptly and walked back into her office.

Brexit in limbo

May was pushed into the humiliating spectacle of announcing her departure from office following a meeting with the head of the Conservative Party committee in charge of leadership elections.

She had previously said she would step aside once her unpopular EU divorce deal had been passed by parliament, and this week launched a short-lived bid for lawmakers to approve it in early June, that has now been postponed.

MPs have overwhelmingly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with European Union leaders last year three times, brutally weakening May on each occasion.

With her resignation, the manner of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union appears more uncertain than ever.

She had been under growing pressure to quit following months of political paralysis over Brexit, which have intensified in recent weeks following disastrous results in the May 2 English local elections.

The Conservatives are expected to fare similarly badly in this week’s European Parliament elections when the results are announced late Sunday.

 ‘One last roll of the dice’

May’s latest effort to force through her despised Brexit deal, which included giving MPs the option of holding a referendum on the agreement, proved her final undoing.

The move prompted a furious reaction from Conservatives — including cabinet members.

“I thought she deserved one last roll of the dice. But she took those dice and threw them off the table,” a senior minister told The Times.

The clamour for her to stand down reached fever pitch after Andrea Leadsom — one of cabinet’s strongest Brexit backers — resigned on Wednesday from her post as the government’s representative in parliament.

She became the 36th minister to quit May’s dismally dysfunctional government — a modern record.

In her resignation letter Leadsom told the prime minister she no longer believed her approach to Brexit would deliver on the 2016 referendum result to leave the EU.

Several senior cabinet ministers reportedly then held “frank” talks with May on Thursday.

No deal?

May’s departure will kickstart a Conservative Party leadership contest — already unofficially underway — that is expected to encompass more than a dozen candidates and favour a Brexiteer.

That could lead to Britain, which has already twice delayed its departure from the European Union, opting to leave the bloc without a deal on October 31, the extended deadline agreed with Brussels last month.

Tory MPs will hold a series of votes to whittle the contenders down to a final two that will be put to the party’s more than 100,000 members.

Former foreign secretary and gaffe-prone Brexit cheerleader Boris Johnson is the membership’s favourite, but a considerable number of Conservative MPs are thought to hold serious reservations about his suitability for the top job.

He has repeatedly said Britain should not fear a so-called no-deal Brexit.

‘No legacy’

May was the surprising victor in a 2016 leadership contest to replace predecessor David Cameron after he resigned in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum

Despite having campaigned to stay in the EU, she embraced the cause with the mantra “Brexit means Brexit”.

However the decision to hold a disastrous snap election in June 2017, when she lost her parliamentary majority, left her stymied.

May will leave office without any significant achievements to her name — other than the bungled handling of Brexit, according to political analysts.

“She doesn’t really have a legacy that she can call her own other than just having to manage what is a very difficult issue,” said Simon Usherwood, from the University of Surrey’s politics department.

“I think anybody in her position would have had great difficulty.”

Others were more brutal in their assessment.

“It was only an impossible job because she made it one,” said Tim Bale of Queen Mary University of London.

 

AFP

Brexit PM Theresa May Ridiculed For Summoning Liverpool Football Spirit

File Photo of Theresa May

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday compared her Brexit battle with Brussels to Liverpool footballers’ stirring Champions League comeback against Barcelona — risking ridicule from the left-leaning city.

The English club lost the first leg of the semi-final clash 3-0 in Spain and seemed headed for certain defeat after their injured stars Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were ruled for Tuesday’s return fixture at Anfield.

But Liverpool staged one of the greatest comebacks in their storied history by winning 4-0 at home and getting through to their second successive Champions League final.

May appeared for her weekly question-and-answer session in parliament on Wednesday with both Brexit and football on her mind.

Liverpool’s win “shows us that when everyone says it’s all over, that your European opposition have got you beat, the clock’s ticking down, it’s time to concede defeat, actually we can still secure success if everyone comes together,” May said to rousing cheers from her fellow Conservative Party members.

Her comments came in response to what was meant to be a football-themed zinger from opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“In view of the amazing Liverpool result last night, perhaps the prime minister could take tips from Jurgen Klopp on how to get a result in Europe,” Corbyn said in reference to Liverpool’s charismatic German manager.

‘Embarrassing’

The unlikely exchange at the very top of May’s appearance highlighted both Britain’s obsession with football and the gripping nature of Liverpool’s performance on Tuesday night.

But they are not the most obvious team for May to suddenly embrace.

Liverpool is a historically liberal port city that likes to buck convention and was the home of Labour’s annual party conference last year.

Its suspicion of the Conservatives deepened when a magazine edited by Boris Johnson — May’s former foreign minister and current leadership rival — accused the city of wallowing in “victim status” over the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster in which 96 people died.

Johnson initially defended the 2004 article before backtracking and calling it “a kick in the pants for me”.

“I am not sure that (May’s comments) will warm the cockles of the people of Liverpool,” ITV television’s political editor Robert Peston wrote on Twitter.

“Jesus wept,” The Guardian newspaper’s football columnist Sid Lowe agreed in his own tweet.

“Talk about inviting yourself in where you’re not wanted. Embarrassing.”

May has been labouring to emulate the footballers’ never-say-never spirit for months as she defends her handling of Brexit.

The beleaguered British premier has been forced to ask EU leaders to give her more time to get the deal she struck with Brussels on ending the sides’ 46-year partnership through the UK parliament.

Brtain was originally meant to have left the EU on March 29. The new deadline has been set for October 31 — and might yet be extended again.

The delays prompted May’s government to admit Tuesday that the nation will have no choice but to take part in European Parliament elections on May 23.

The decision has drawn fury and scorn from EU opponents who voted in favour of Brexit in a 2016 national referendum.

AFP

Theresa May Says She’s “Armed With Fresh” Brexit Mandate

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, Visits Nigeria
(File) Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London on July 4, 2018 ahead of the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) session in the House of Commons.
Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday she would be “armed with a fresh mandate and new ideas” when she meets European Union negotiators over her Brexit deal.

EU officials have insisted that the deal is not open for renegotiation.

But May wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that she would be “battling for Britain and Northern Ireland” in her efforts to get rid of the agreement’s unpopular backstop provision.

“If we stand together and speak with one voice, I believe we can find the right way forward,” she said.

The backstop is intended to ensure there is no return to a hard border with Ireland, but Brexit supporters fear it will keep Britain tied to the EU’s customs rules.

MPs voted last week to send May back to Brussels to renegotiate the clause, suggesting her deal would then be able to pass after it was roundly rejected in parliament last month.

“I am now confident there is a route that can secure a majority in the House of Commons for leaving the EU with a deal,” she wrote.

“When I return to Brussels I will be battling for Britain and Northern Ireland, I will be armed with a fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination to agree a pragmatic solution”.

The EU insists that the deal “remains the best and only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal,” but with the clock running down until the March 29 exit date the risks of a no-deal Brexit for both Britain and the bloc are coming into sharp focus.

May said opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn “also believes the potential indefinite nature of the backstop is an issue”, and that the EU has “already accepted the principle of ‘alternative arrangements’ superseding the backstop should it ever be required.”

The backstop would kick in if Britain and the EU have not agreed a trade deal on their future relationship after a time-limited transition period of up to two years.

The prime minister rejected accusations that plans to reopen the backstop talks risked upsetting the Irish peace process.

“Nor do I have time for those who believe the verdict passed by the British people in 2016 should be overturned before it is even implemented,” she added, referring to the rump of MPs calling for a second referendum.

“I’m determined to deliver Brexit, and determined to deliver on time –- on March 29, 2019,” she wrote.

May has promised MPs that she will bring any revised deal back to be voted on by MPs on February 13.

I’m All Out For Credible Elections, Buhari Tells Theresa May

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday told British Prime Minister Theresa May that he is committed to conducting free, fair and credible elections.

President Buhari said this during the bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister. He added that elections recently held in some parts of the country were successful, revealing his administration’s commitment to credible elections.

He also welcomed UK’s support at strengthening democratic institutions in the country.

‘‘I assure you that I’m all out for free, fair and credible elections. I’m very pleased that my party is doing very well. The recent successes in polls in Katsina, Bauchi, and Kogi have boosted our morale greatly.

‘‘Nigeria has accepted multiparty democracy and that is putting politicians on their toes, forcing them to work harder,’’ he said.

President Buhari applauded British’s support to the country on anti-corruption campaign. He noted that the success of the anti-corruption fight was very important to Nigerians.

He also thanked the UK government for the support on security and the fight against insurgency in the North Eastern part of Nigeria, as well as the improved trade relations between both countries.

Prime Minister May in response welcomed the assurance by the Nigerian government on credible elections in 2019.

She said she was pleased to be in Abuja to continue the ‘‘excellent discussions’’ which she started with President Buhari in London in April, this year, particularly on security, trade, asset recovery and the fight against corruption.

According to her, security and defence cooperation are “very important steps to address Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa.”

During the meeting, both leaders also spoke about how to strengthen democratic institutions in the country.

President Buhari spoke on the need for UK’s support on reviving of Lake Chad, which is a means of livelihood for millions of people.

He said that Europe and China were already conducting an in-depth study on recharging the Lake through inter-basin transfer from the Central African Republic.

On asset recovery, the Prime Minister told President Buhari: ‘‘we do not want to hold anything that belongs to Nigeria people, but we follow the judicial process, which can be slow.’’

The Prime Minister also appealed to President Buhari to use his position as ECOWAS Chair to keep the issue of human trafficking on the front burner in the sub-region.

Theresa May Visits Lagos, Meets With Ambode

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday visited Lagos State.

She was received at the Murtala Muhammed International airport by Governor Akinwumi Ambode, accompanied by his deputy, among other state officials.

The Prime Minister and Governor Ambode later held a brief meeting at the presidential wing of the airport, discussing trade and business-related issues.

Mrs May is expected to later visit Salvation Army Headquarters in Lagos and meet with some victims of modern day slavery.

She is also expected to meet business leaders at FMDQ Security Exchange building in Victoria Island.

Mrs May earlier arrived in Nigeria today and met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.

May’s visit to Nigeria is part of her tour of some African countries.

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, Visits Nigeria Today

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, Visits Nigeria
(File) Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London on July 4, 2018, ahead of the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) session in the House of Commons. Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, will be visiting Nigeria today.

This followed a hint by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright while addressing reporters in Abuja on Monday.

READ ALSO: Britain Will Use Aid Budget To Boost Trade In Africa – Theresa May

May’s scheduled visit to the country is part of her tour of some Africa countries.

She is expected to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Villa where both leaders will discuss issues bordering on security and the 2019 general elections among others.

The British PM was in South Africa where she addressed an audience.

She condemned the activities of terrorist groups in the continent as well as actions exposing the environment to danger.

May also decried the rate of poverty in Africa, describing Nigeria as a home to poor people despite the fact that it was flourishing.

UK Repatriates £70m To Nigeria, Pledges To Return More Loot

“Extremist groups such as Boko Haram and al-Shabab are killing thousands. Africa’s ocean economy is three times the size of its landmass which is under threat from plastic waste and other pollution,” she was quoted as saying on the UK government’s website.

The UK Prime Minister added, “Most of the world’s poorest people are Africans. And increasing wealth has brought rising inequality, both between and within nations.

“For example, Nigeria is thriving, with many individuals enjoying the fruits of a resurgent economy. Yet 87 million Nigerians live on less than $1.90 a day – making it home to more poor people than any other nation in the world.”

She, however, said the UK would use its international aid budget to boost its national interest and deepen trade ties with Africa.

British PM, Theresa May To Visit Nigeria

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London on July 4, 2018 ahead of the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) session in the House of Commons.
Tolga AKMEN / AFP

 

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, will this week make her first visit to Nigeria, as part of efforts aimed at boosting post-Brexit trade ties.

May, joined by several ministers and 29 business representatives from various industries, will also visit South Africa and Kenya during the three-day trip, Downing Street said Monday.

She will be the first British prime minister to set foot in Kenya since Margaret Thatcher in 1988.

“As we prepare to leave the European Union, now is the time for the UK to deepen and strengthen its global partnerships,” May said in a statement.

“Africa stands right on the cusp of playing a transformative role in the global economy,” she added.

“As longstanding partners, this trip is a unique opportunity at a unique time for the UK to set out our ambition to work even closer together.”

The delegation will land in Cape Town on Tuesday, where May will meet South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as well as business leaders and young people.

She will use a speech on the opening day to set out how Britain can bolster its partnership with Africa, “particularly by bringing the transformative power of private sector trade and investment from the UK”, her office said.

May will present Ramaphosa with the bell from the troopship Mendi, which sank in the English Channel in 1917 drowning more than 600 mainly South African troops set to join the Allied forces fighting in World War I.

It was the worst maritime disaster in the African country’s history, and has become a symbol of its WWI remembrance.

The prime minister is also expected to visit Robben Island where former president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth.

May will then head to Nigeria on Wednesday for meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari in the capital, Abuja and later on, visit Lagos.

On Thursday she will meet Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, shortly after his return from seeing US President Donald Trump in Washington and before he travels to China to meet President Xi Jinping.

The prime minister will then see British troops in training action and tour a business school, before concluding the trip at a state dinner hosted by Kenyatta.

Among those joining May are representatives of the London Stock Exchange, the Scotch Whisky Association and manufacturing firm JCB.

President Buhari Holds Talks With Theresa May

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday had a bilateral meeting with the British Prime Minister Theresa May.

President Buhari had some discussions with her. Details of the discussion are, however, not yet disclosed as the meeting was closed-door.

The meeting was held at 10, Downing Street, London.

At the end of the meeting, President Buhari thanked the Prime Minister for Britain’s efforts in training Nigerian Armed forces in fighting Boko Haram insurgency.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Godfrey Onyeama, and other government officials are with President Buhari in the United Kingdom.

The President had earlier received the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu on Sunday.

He also received a support group called Buhari Diaspora Support Organisation. This was alongside the Chief of Staff to President Abba Kyari.

President Buhari also met with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Reverend Justin Welby on Wednesday, April 11. He told the Archbishop that clashes between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of Nigeria is a crisis that has long existed adding that efforts are on to ensure the release of the schoolgirl from Dapchi, Leah Sharibu who is still being held by insurgents.

Buhari on Monday, April 9 left Abuja for the United Kingdom, London.

This was after he declared his intention to seek re-election at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership.

Britain Expels 23 Russian Diplomats Over Spy Poisoning

Russia President, Vladimir Putin

 

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday expelled 23 diplomats and suspended high-level contacts with Russia including for the World Cup, saying her government found Moscow “culpable” of a nerve agent attack on a former spy.

May said she would be pushing for a “robust international response” when the UN Security Council meets later on Wednesday in New York to discuss the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter on March 4.

Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement and its London embassy warned that May’s response was “totally unacceptable and shortsighted”.

May told parliament that Russia had failed to respond to her demand for an explanation on how a Soviet-designed chemical, Novichok, was used in the English city of Salisbury.

“There is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr. Skripal and his daughter,” she said.

“This represents an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom.”

 ‘Hostile activities’

In measures drawn up at a meeting of her national security council earlier Wednesday, May announced that 23 Russian diplomats believed to be undeclared intelligence officers must leave Britain in a week.

She suspended all planned high-level contacts, which includes revoking an invitation for Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to visit but said she did not want to break off relations entirely.

May also confirmed that neither members of the royal family or ministers would attend the football World Cup in Russia later this year.

And she outlined fresh measures against people traveling to or living in Britain who were responsible for violations of human rights or planned “hostile activities”.

NATO allies, including the United States, have expressed their support for Britain following the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since World War II.

Along with the UN Security Council meeting in New York, EU Council President Donald Tusk indicated that the issue would be on the agenda of next week’s summit of the bloc’s leaders in Brussels.

Russian ‘defiance’

May said on Monday that it was “highly likely” that Russia was behind the attack, which left Skripal and his daughter in a critical condition in hospital, while a policeman was also hospitalised.

She had given Moscow until midnight Tuesday to explain whether it was directly responsible or “lost control” of the nerve agent, but said it has responded with “sarcasm, contempt, and defiance”.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said again Wednesday that it had “nothing to do with the accident in Britain”, but warned it would not accept the “language of ultimatums”.

Lavrov has said the Kremlin is ready to cooperate with Britain but complained that its request for samples of the nerve agent had been rejected.

Moscow has also warned that it will take retaliatory measures, and on Tuesday threatened to expel British media from Russia if the license of its state broadcaster RT was threatened in Britain.

May on Wednesday blamed Putin for a deterioration of relations between Moscow and London, saying it was “tragic that President Putin has chosen to act in this way”.

But the Russian embassy said the British government was responsible.

Allied support

Britain is wary of acting alone and May has spoken to US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in recent days.

In a phone call late Tuesday, Trump and May “agreed on the need for consequences for those who use these heinous weapons in flagrant violation of international norms”, the White House said.

In a joint statement by its 29 member states, the US-led NATO alliance said the attack was a “clear breach of international norms and agreements” and called on Russia to fully disclose details of the Novichok programme.

British experts say Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, who was visiting from Russia, were poisoned with a nerve agent from a broad category known as Novichok, which developed by the Soviet Union during the late stages of the Cold War.

The Russian chemist who first revealed the existence of Novichok, Vil Mirzayanov, said: “only the Russians” developed the Novichok agents.

“They kept it and are still keeping it in secrecy,” he said from his home in the US, where he moved in 1995 after 30 years of working for the State Scientific Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology.

The Salisbury case has drawn parallels with the 2006 death by radiation poisoning of former Russian agent and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, which Britain blamed on Moscow.

In a further twist, former senior Russian executive Nikolai Glushkov, linked to late Kremlin opponent Boris Berezovsky, was found dead in London on Tuesday in unexplained circumstances, British and Russian media reported.

AFP

May To Call Trump As Britain Voices ‘Concern’ On Jerusalem Plan

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday she will be calling US President Donald Trump about his plan to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital after her foreign secretary expressed concern.

“I’m intending to speak to President Trump about this matter,” May told parliament, referring to Trump’s stance on Jerusalem, which has sparked international cries of alarm.

“Our position has not changed. The status of Jerusalem should be determined as a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians and Jerusalem should be a shared capital,” she said.

As he arrived for a NATO meeting in Brussels, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said earlier on Wednesday: “We view the reports that we have heard with concern.”

Speaking later on the sidelines of the meeting alongside US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Johnson also said Trump’s imminent decision underlined the urgency of a new US-led Middle East peace plan.

“We’ll have to wait and see what the president says,” Johnson said.

“But clearly this is a decision that makes it more important than ever that the long-awaited American proposals on the Middle East peace process are now brought forward and I would say that that should happen as a matter of priority.

“We would like to see, as a result of this, the Americans’ proposals on the Middle East peace process brought forward,” he added.

In recent months, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has been working with a small team to develop a new US proposal to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

But Trump’s decision to pre-empt the process by backing Israel’s claim on Jerusalem has triggered a chorus of international concern, amid fears that it could sink any hope of new peace talks.

As he waited for Johnson to arrive for a handshake photo opportunity, Tillerson told reporters that the Jerusalem issue had not overshadowed his meetings at NATO.

“We haven’t had a lot of talks about that,” he said.

The British alarm follows stern criticism of Trump’s proposal from EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini.

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and previous peace plans have stumbled over debates on whether and how to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites.

AFP

Armed Forces Play Key Role In UK Terror Attacks- British PM

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the work of the armed forces needs to be recognized across the world, as the country marked Armed Forces Day on Saturday.

The nationwide event, now in its 9th year, honors the work of servicemen and women working in the UK and around the world.

In light of the recent Manchester attack, which left 22 people dead, May said:

“We saw our armed forces on the streets helping to reassure people of their safety and security and it’s great that we can recognize the work that all our armed forces do, as I say, both here and across the world.”

UK Armed Forces are currently involved in over 20 operations in more than 25 countries.

Also speaking at the national event in Liverpool, British Defense Minister Michael Fallon added that the work of servicemen and women abroad “keeps us safer here at home”.

Over 300 events including parades, military displays and community fetes will take place on Saturday.