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Trump cancels UK visit over 'bad' new US embassy deal

Press Trust of India  |  Washington/London 

today cancelled a "working visit" to the planned for next month to open a new US embassy, blaming a "bad deal" struck by the previous Obama-administration to relocate the mission from central to an "off location".

The US launched his attack on against the embassy's move from in the posh Mayfair area of the city to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, in a USD 1.2 billion project.

He wrote: "Reason I cancelled my trip to is that I am not a big fan of the having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in for 'peanuts',only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars.Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!".

US will now step in for the launch of the new embassy site, which will open to staff on January 16.

The short visit by Trump in February was not the full State Visit proposed by British on the invitation of Elizabeth II, for which no date has yet been set.

A petition calling for the invitation to be withdrawn was signed by more than 1.8 million people, while the issue was also debated in parliament.

Downing Street said no date has been confirmed for any visit by Trump and that the opening of the "is a matter for the US".

The "strong and deep" partnership between and the US "will endure" despite Trump's cancellation, a was quoted as saying by the

However, of London - who has clashed with the in the past - said the US president had "got the message" that many Londoners were staunchly opposed to his policies and actions.

Sections of the that the visit was cancelled amid fears of mass protests as the embassy's plan to move from Mayfair to Nine Elms in London pre-dated the Barack and was first reported in October 2008, when was still the president.

Citing security and environmental reasons, the US State Department had agreed to sell the current embassy building in to the Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Co, which intends to turn it into a

On the about the project, it said: "The project has been funded entirely by the proceeds of the sale of other properties in London, not through appropriated funds".

Trump had also been scheduled to hold talks with prime minister May in No 10 Downing Street, with February 26 and 27 marked in the diary for the visit.

Downing Street had hoped to announce the dates this week.

The working visit cancellation follows a strain in UK-US relations, with May criticising Trump's decision to retweet material posted by the far-right extremist group, First, last November.

Trump had responded by tweeting directly to the British PM that she should focus on tackling domestic terrorism.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 20:05 IST