British Prime Minister Theresa May confronted U.S. President Donald Trump today over his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Downing Street revealed the call had taken place and provided a read out of the first conversation between the two leaders since the beginning of November.
May offered her condolences on a train wreck in Washington and challenged the U.S. to put forward a Middle East peace proposal, a Downing Street spokesman said Tuesday.
The delay had sparked speculation that Trump was snubbing May after their spat following his retweets of a far-right group in Britain. She had publicly disagreed with announcement that he was moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, too.
Theresa May has finally spoken to Donald Trump (pictured together in May) about his controversial decision to move the US Israeli embassy to Jerusalem almost two weeks after announcing a call
The White House waited an hour and a half after Downing Street detailed the call to put out a formal statement.
It’s version said: ‘The two leaders exchanged holiday greetings and warm wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
‘The Prime Minister offered her condolences for the tragic train accident in Washington State. The President and Prime Minister discussed next steps in forging peace in the Middle East.
‘Both leaders also emphasized the urgency of addressing the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. President Trump congratulated the Prime Minister on the decision by European Union leaders to move to the second phase of the Brexit negotiations.’
An senior U.S. official told the Associated Press that Trump’s tweets were not discussed.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the president’s press secretary, added during her daily briefing that a visit to the UK had been mutually agreed upon, however a date had still not been set.
A Downing Street spokesman said earlier on Tuesday that the two leaders spoken about Trump’s controversial decision to declare Jerusalem the capitol of Israel during a call today with May.
He said: ‘They 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.
‘The Prime Minister also raised Yemen, highlighting our ongoing deep concerns at the humanitarian situation.
‘They agreed on the vital importance of reopening humanitarian and commercial access to prevent famine and alleviate the suffering of innocent Yemenis.
‘The Prime Minister updated the President on the recent good progress of the Brexit negotiations, and the President set out the progress he had made on his economic agenda. They agreed on the importance of a swift post-Brexit bilateral trade deal.
‘They wished each other a very Merry Christmas and looked forward to keeping in close touch.’
HOW THE MAY-TRUMP RELATIONSHIP HIT THE BRAKES
November 29 – Trump retweets a series of Britain First videos. May condemns him as ‘wrong’
December 4 – Expectations rise Trump will announce the US will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
December 6 – May warns the US not to make the change tells MPs she will speak to Trump about Jerusalem
December 7 – Trump officially makes his move and recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
December 18 – No 10 admits May and Trump have still not spoken but denies a snub
December 19 – Call finally takes place
May has sent Mr Trump a Christmas card – but No 10 has refused to say whether she has received one in reply.
The premier took the unusual step of revealing plans to call Mr Trump during Prime Minister’s Questions on December 6, at the height of criticism of the President’s decision on Israel.
Her announcement came just days after Mr Trump sparked huge diplomatic row by re-tweeting videos from the far right Britain First Group.
Her spokesman was challenged on when the call would take place at a Westminster briefing yesterday.
Asked if the failure to schedule a call was a snub, the spokesman said: ‘I would not see it like that at all.
‘We will let you know when they have spoken.’
At PMQs a day before after the controversial decision, Mrs May said: ‘I’m intending to speak to President Trump about this matter.
‘Our position has not changed, it has been a long standing one and it is also a very clear one.
‘It is that the status of Jerusalem should be determined in a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and Jerusalem should ultimately form a shared capital between the Israeli and Palestinian states.’
It emerged last week Mr Trump is likely to finally visit the UK for the first time as President in February to officially open the new American embassy.
The trip will be met with a storm of protests and comes ahead of a planned state visit which has been repeatedly postponed.