Trump cancels London trip for embassy opening

File: US President Donald Trump announced on Friday he will no longer attend the opening of the new US embassy in London. Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski

LONDON - US President Donald Trump announced on Friday he will no longer attend the opening of the new US embassy in London, a move welcomed by critics in Britain who had planned mass protests.

He wrote on Twitter that he was abandoning the trip -- initially scheduled for next month -- because he did not like the location and price tag of the new building.

"Reason I cancelled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for "peanuts," only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars," Trump wrote.

"Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon - NO!"

There had been speculation that the trip would be merged with a planned state visit to Britain offered to Trump by Prime Minister Theresa May, which has met with strong public and political opposition.

A spokesman for her Downing Street office said on Friday said that the state visit plans have not changed, although no date has yet been set.

The new 12-storey, cube-shaped building, designed by American architects KieranTimberlake, is located in a regenerated area on the south bank of the River Thames. It will be open for business on 16 January.

The decision to move from the former prestigious location in Mayfair, central London, was taken by the administration of former Republican president George W. Bush in October 2008, partly for security reasons in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

In December, Ambassador Woody Johnson said he was looking forward to welcoming the president when he visited, adding: "I think he will be very impressed with this building and the people who occupy it."

He said the new embassy was a "signal to the world that this special relationship that we have is stronger and is going to grow and get better".

AFP

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