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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London to attend her final Prime Minister's Question Time of 2016, Britain December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall(reuters_tickers)
(Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with Donald Trump in Washington in the spring, a representative said, in the first visit with the new president by the leader of one of the United States' closest allies.
In a phone call with Trump in late November, the Conservative prime minister and the Republican president-elect agreed to work on building relationships through the U.S. presidential transition and to meet at the earliest opportunity.
"We are pleased to have been able to make that happen and the Prime Minister looks forward to visiting the new president in the spring," May's representative said in an emailed statement on Thursday. The statement did not provide further details on the timing of her visit to the U.S. capital.
During the call, May's second such conversation with Trump since his election on Nov. 8, the prime minister "suggested it would be a good idea for key staff from both teams to meet. President-elect Trump agreed this would be useful," the statement said.
Trump takes office on Jan. 20.
Britain has long cherished its so-called "special relationship" with the United States as a central pillar of its foreign policy, but May has struggled to build relations with Trump's transition team.
The first phone call between the two was made following Trump's election. However, he spoke to nine other world leaders before talking with May, raising eyebrows in London.
Trump also caused astonishment in Britain in November when he suggested that Nigel Farage of the opposition UKIP party, a firebrand of the Brexit cause and vitriolic critic of the ruling Conservatives whom he counts as a friend and supporter, should be Britain's ambassador to Washington.
London responded that there was no vacancy, but the suggestion, an unprecedented breach of diplomatic protocol, was embarrassing for the government.
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)