Trump cancels London visit, refusing to unveil new US embassy

Trump claims Obama administration sold the US embassy for ‘peanuts’, despite decision to move taken in 2008

The  new US Embassy at Nine Elms in London. Photograph:  EPA/ANDY RAIN

The new US Embassy at Nine Elms in London. Photograph: EPA/ANDY RAIN

 

US president Donald Trump canceled a visit to London scheduled for early this year, saying he was disappointed with the “Obama administration having sold” the U.S. embassy in the British capital.

“[The] reason I canceled 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 said in a tweet late on Thursday.

However, the embassy website showed that the decision to move the location was taken months before Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

The US Embassy and Consulates in the UK said in October 2008 the embassy would be relocated for security reasons.

“Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!” Trump said on Twitter.

The United States is leaving behind an imposing 1960 stone and concrete embassy in London’s upmarket Grosvenor Square - an area known as ‘Little America’ during World War Two, when the square also housed the military headquarters of General Dwight D Eisenhower.

The new embassy on the South Bank is a veritable fortress set back at least 30 meters from surrounding buildings - mostly newly-erected high-rise residential blocks - and incorporating living quarters for the US Marines permanently stationed inside. The land was sold to the US government by Irish developer Sean Mulryan’s Ballymore Group after a deal was reached in 2008. The Ballymore Group have other commercial and residential development projects in the area estimated to be worth over €2 billion.

The $1 billion construction, overlooking the River Thames, was wholly funded by the sale of other properties in London. – Reuters