UK Insists on Special Relationship With US

Theresa May speaks to Republican lawmakers on Jan. 26.Theresa May speaks to Republican lawmakers on Jan. 26.

British Prime Minister Theresa May embraced US President Donald Trump as a friend and ally, but cautioned him not to turn his back on global institutions and long-established political values.

On her first visit to the United States as prime minister, May called the start of Trump's term "a new era of American renewal", but firmly rejected the president's suggestion that torture might be acceptable and rebuffed some of his foreign-policy views, AP reported.

The British premier will become the first foreign leader to meet the president since his inauguration. She is seizing the opportunity to bolster the trans-Atlantic "special relationship" and work toward a US-UK free trade deal after Britain leaves the European Union.

May told a gathering of Republican lawmakers at their annual Congressional retreat that a Britain outside the EU and the US under Trump can "lead together again" in the world, as they did when they set up the United Nations, NATO and other international organizations the new president has strongly criticized.

Throughout the more than half-hour of her speech, May declared sympathy for Trump's world view, then reminded the gathered Republicans-and by extension the president-of the United States' international obligations.

She also joined in Trump's criticism of past US foreign policy, saying "the days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over."

But May also said Britain was a strongly internationalist nation that supports a strong EU and considers NATO the bulwark of global security. May acknowledged the need to work with Russia to end the war in Syria, but drew applause when she cautioned that the West's approach to President Vladimir Putin should be "engage but beware."

Amid the foreign-policy suggestions, May wooed Republicans with an ode to the "special relationship" between the two countries.

May's carrot-and-stick approach to Trump is politically risky. She is under fire at home for seeking to get close to a president who has renewed his commitment to building a Mexican border wall, moved to pull the US out of international trade treaties and said he thinks torturing terrorism suspects works.

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