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UK PM, Trump to Discuss Trade, NATO    01/22 10:13

   British Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday she plans to discuss free 
trade and the importance of the NATO military alliance when she becomes the 
first foreign leader to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington

   LONDON (AP) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday she plans to 
discuss free trade and the importance of the NATO military alliance when she 
becomes the first foreign leader to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in 
Washington.

   The White House's invitation for May to meet with Trump on Friday was seen 
in Britain as affirmation that Trump values the vaunted "special relationship" 
between the United States and its longtime ally across the Atlantic.

   She told BBC's Andrew Marr that the Trump team is interested in discussing a 
new trade arrangement with Britain despite the "America first" theme of Trump's 
inaugural address and his vow to evaluate every trade deal for its possible 
benefits to the United States.

   Any national leader would do the same when deciding whether to sign a trade 
pact, May said.

   Britain sees a future trade agreement with the United States as vital as the 
country prepares to leave the European Union. However, Britain's desire for 
increased trade could clash with Trump's protectionist stance.

   May said she would also raise the value of the NATO military alliance during 
the meeting. She called it the "bulwark" of Europe's defense system.

   Trump has rattled European allies by suggesting NATO is "obsolete" and that 
the United States might not come to the aid of countries that don't meet 
targets for their own defense spending.

   May maintained that Trump understands NATO's vital role. European leaders 
worry about a watering down of the NATO role given the increasingly aggressive 
actions by Russia in recent years.

   The prime minister didn't directly answer questions about whether she will 
use Friday's meeting to challenge Trump over derogatory comments he has made 
about women. May criticized crude remarks of his that surfaced during the 
presidential campaign.

   But she said she would speak out if she finds his future behavior or 
comments "unacceptable." May said she has a long track record promoting equal 
rights for women, adding that she is proud to be Britain's second female prime 
minister.

   "When I sit down, I think the biggest statement that will be made about the 
role of women is the fact that I will be there as a female prime minister, 
prime minister of the United Kingdom, directly taking to him about the 
interests that we share," she said.

   British officials say May will also speak to Republican senators and 
representatives at a retreat in Philadelphia.


(KA)

 
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