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British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with President-elect Trump Tuesday morning in what marked the beginning of a “regular dialogue” between the incoming Republican president and conservative party leader.

Trump and May discussed the unique relationship between the United Kingdom and the U.S. and both countries’ crucial roles in the NATO alliance, according to a short statement from Downing Street.

“They discussed NATO, agreeing on the importance of the Alliance, the need for more NATO members to meet the target of spending 2 [percent] of GDP and the role that NATO can play in addressing diverse threats,” the statement said.

The two leaders also discussed the president-elect’s transition plans and agreed to convene a meeting of their national security advisers in the U.S. next month. They also expressed an interest in meeting each other “at the earliest possible opportunity,” according to the statement.



Before becoming prime minister in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, May repeatedly criticized Trump in her role as home secretary. She described his rhetoric on Muslims as “divisive, unhelpful and wrong” during a debate last summer over whether the Republican should be prohibited from entering the U.K., and she told a parliamentary committee that Trump “does not understand the U.K. and what happens in the U.K.”

May later distanced herself from both U.S. presidential candidates after her own election. She and Trump spoke for the first time following his victory earlier this month, during which she spoke of strengthening the U.K.’s bilateral trade with the U.S. amid the Brexit result.

“We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defense,” May said, according to a readout of their initial conversation. “I look forward to working with president-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.”

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