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UK Lawmakers to Debate Trump Visit     02/20 09:11

   LONDON (AP) -- British lawmakers are set to debate a call for U.S. President 
Donald Trump to be denied a state visit to the U.K. --- but the Conservative 
government insists the invitation remains firmly in place.

   Trump opponents plan to demonstrate outside Parliament in London as 
legislators hold a non-binding debate Monday. It comes in response to an online 
petition with more than 1.8 million signatures saying a formal state visit 
"would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen."

   On state visits, foreign leaders are welcomed with royal pomp and military 
ceremony, and usually stay at Buckingham Palace as guests of Queen Elizabeth II.

   Lawmakers will also consider an opposing petition, with more than 300,000 
signatures, backing the state visit.

   All petitions that receive more than 100,000 signatures are eligible for 
debate in parliament, though not a binding vote.

   During her 65-year reign, the queen has welcomed many leaders with 
less-than-spotless records, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and the 
late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. A 2015 state visit by Chinese 
President Xi Jinping drew protests from Tibetan groups and human rights 
activists.

   But Trump's invitation has sparked unprecedented opposition, especially 
after his executive order temporarily barring citizens of seven majority-Muslim 
nations from entering the United States.

   Thousands of people demonstrated against the order in British towns and 
cities, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the government to reconsider its 
invitation in light of Trump's "cruel" migrant ban, which has since been 
suspended by U.S. courts.

   House of Commons Speaker John Bercow set aside his customary political 
neutrality to say that Trump should not be invited to address Parliament when 
he comes to Britain --- an honor given to his predecessor, Barack Obama.

   Dates have not yet been announced for Trump's visit, expected later this 
year. The government said in a statement responding to the petition that the 
state visit "reflects the importance of the relationship between the United 
States of America and the United Kingdom."

   "We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements 
are finalized," it said.


(KA)

 
 
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