Donald Trump will finally visit the UK "later this year", Downing Street confirmed on Thursday afternoon.
It will be a "working visit" rather than the full state occasion hosted by Queen Elizabeth that was initially planned, officials in the White House and 10 Downing Street confirmed on Thursday night.
Other details including the location and precise timing are still to be worked out, but the visit will likely take place in the second half of the year, a senior British government source said.
Trump accepted the offer of a state visit to the UK in his first week as president, a rare honour for a US leader who has only just taken office. But a year later no date has been set for the visit, amid reports he was worried about negative coverage in the British press and potential protests.
The announcement was made following a joint appearance by Trump and Theresa May at the World Economic Forum, an annual event where global political and business leaders meet for annual discussions in the Swiss town of Davos.
According to a senior UK government source who attended the meeting, Trump and May spoke privately for between 30 and 40 minutes. The mood was cordial and formal, and Trump made no mention of criticism of him in the UK or his refusal to come to London this month to open the new US embassy, the source added.
“The PM and president concluded by asking officials to work together on finalising the details of a visit by the president to the UK later this year," a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement.
During their joint appearance Trump said he has "great respect for everything" the British prime minister is doing and insisted the two politicians like each other "a lot".
"We're on the same wavelength in, I think, every respect," he added.
The US president also said he wanted to correct the "false rumour" that the pair don't get on. Just two months ago he directly attacked the prime minister on Twitter shortly after retweeting a series of posts by a far-right British political group.
Trump made a stagey entrance to Davos, entering at the lower level of the Congress Centre and proceeding slowly through a silent crowd and up a grand set of stairs.
He stopped once to sign his name in a breathless American woman's copy of God and Donald Trump and once to chat with the conservative Republican Congressman Mark Meadows and his wife. Asked a gentle question about his goals, he said he had come to Davos to promote "peace and prosperity".
Addressing May, Trump said the US and the UK remain "joined at the hip when it comes to the military" and "have the same ideas, the same ideals" before pledging to defend the UK if it ever came under attack.
Trump also gave hope that talks on a post-Brexit trade deal with the US could soon be underway: "The trade is going to increase many times, the trade concepts and discussions that will be taking place are going to lead to tremendous increases in trade between our two countries, which is great for both in terms of jobs. We are starting that process pretty much as we speak."
May, who has struggled to build her relationship with an unpredictable US president, insisted the bond between the two countries remains strong: "We continue to have that really special relationship between US and UK. We’re facing the same challenges across the world. And we’re working together to defeat those challenges. The UK and the US both do well out of this."
Few US presidents have made the trip to Davos while in office. And after days of stories packed with anonymous, disdainful words for the president from the global elite, the crowd was largely starstruck by the appearance of Trump.
"It was depressing to see the craven Davos Men crowd the president, cameras clicking, as if they were delighted to be in the presence of a big celebrity," said Jamie Drummond, cofounder of the anti-poverty One Campaign. "I just wanted to jump on a table and remind the smilers gathered that the president proposed to cut aid to the poorest people on the planet by 40% and wipe the smiles from their faces."
Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Jim Waterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Smith is the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed and is based in New York.
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