Sunday 25 September 2016

Watch: Bumpy start to US visit as John Kerry bangs head on door of Number 10

David Hughes and Shaun Connolly

Published 19/07/2016 | 13:28

Theresa May's efforts to forge a close relationship with Washington got off to a bumpy start as US secretary of state John Kerry appeared to bang his head on the door of Number 10.

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Mr Kerry, visiting the new Prime Minister in Downing Street, posed for photographers before turning to enter the famous black door - unaware it had been partially shut behind him.

But there was no sign of discomfort inside Number 10 as Mr Kerry and Mrs May chatted ahead of their meeting.

Mr Kerry will also hold talks with his counterpart Boris Johnson during the visit to London as the Government attempts to shore up its global status following the Brexit vote.

It hopes the meeting will demonstrate that Washington still values the "special relationship" between the two countries after the European Union referendum result.

After that engagement, Mr Johnson is hosting talks on Syria with his counterparts from the US, Germany, France and Italy, along with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

Mr Johnson will also attend a meeting with foreign ministers from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to discuss the conflict in Yemen.

Speaking ahead of the meetings, Mr Johnson said: "We must be more active, more engaged and more outward-looking, so I am delighted to have this early opportunity to welcome my international counterparts to London for important meetings on the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

"I will be making clear my view that the suffering of the Syrian people will not end while Assad remains in power. The international community, including Russia, must be united on this."

Mr Johnson will travel to Washington DC on Thursday for talks on combating Islamic State.

Following the talks in Number 10, Mr Kerry said the Prime Minister was committed to a "calm, thoughtful, reasonable" way to deal with Brexit.

He said: "The Prime Minister and I had an excellent discussion and I'm very grateful to her for her restatement of the commitment to the very strong transatlantic partnership.

"We talked particularly about efforts to try to deal with counter-terrorism, the importance of our co-operation continuing.

"We also talked about Ukraine and Syria in particular.

"Most importantly we affirmed the imperative for the United States, Great Britain and the European community to work together to maximise the economic opportunity, minimise the disruption, deal with this in a way that has the wellbeing of the citizens of all of our countries and regions in mind in order to move our economies as fast as possible.

"I think the Prime Minister is very much committed to finding a calm, thoughtful, reasonable way forward that meets those needs.

"So I was encouraged by it and I look forward to conveying her very best wishes to the American people and President Obama."

Press Association

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