Tillerson tours new London embassy derided by Trump

United States ambassador Woody Johnson brushed off Trump's criticism of the building, telling reporters: "The embassy actually is going to really work". America's top diplomat then met some of the marines who are stationed at the embassy.

But even before the shutdown, the State Department had already played down Tillerson's visit to the embassy, which opened last week, due to controversy over Trump's refusal to inaugurate the new building.

The new building is slightly outside central London in an area south of the River Thames which is being regenerated, unlike its predecessor, which was in a plush quarter in the heart of the British capital.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he was prolonging U.S. sanctions imposed earlier against Iran.

"Wanted me to cut ribbon - NO!"

The decision to move the embassy was actually made by President George W. Bush's administration in 2008 after it determined the old facility in Grosvenor Square had serious security issues. "We think we can do that together", he said. "We'll do it when the time is right", Reuters reported.

In Europe, Iran is expected to dominate Tillerson's talks in Britain and France, the first two stops, before he heads to Switzerland and Poland.

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

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The US and the United Kingdom need to "pay attention" to their "treasured" relationship, the US secretary of state said as he visited London.

But, he stressed, "it is important that we do that in parallel and don't vitiate the fundamentals of the Iran nuclear deal".

"We treasure this relationship".

After visiting the embassy, Tillerson, on his eighth trip to Europe since becoming secretary of state a year ago, was meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May, her national security adviser Mark Sedwill and foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

May and Tillerson discussed "continuing depth and breadth" of the special relationship, May's office 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".

The trip comes amid behind-the-scenes negotiations over the fate of the landmark agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing crippling global sanctions targeting Tehran.

On Jan. 12, Trump told Britain, France, Germany and Congress to work with him to fix "the disastrous flaws" in the deal or the USA would withdraw.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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