Trump, in phone call, congratulates Johnson on becoming British PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated Boris Johnson on becoming British prime minister in a phone call on Friday and said work had already begun on a U.S.-British free trade agreement.

Trump told reporters in the Oval Office he had just gotten off the phone with Johnson.

“I congratulated him and he’s all set to go,” said Trump.

Johnson succeeded Theresa May as prime minister earlier this week and made clear to the European Union he will be taking a tougher approach to negotiating a revision of the Brexit divorce deal that May failed to deliver.

Trump said their two governments were already working on a free trade agreement seen as crucial to help Britain once a Brexit deal takes place.

“They agreed that Brexit offers an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen the economic partnership between the UK and United States,” said a British government statement.

It said the leaders “both expressed their commitment to delivering an ambitious free trade agreement and to starting negotiations as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU.”

The two leaders also discussed current tensions with Iran, following the recent seizure of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

“They ended by looking forward to seeing each other at the G7 summit in Biarritz next month,” the statement said.

Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Guy Faulconbridge in London; Editing by Tom Brown

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