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Entries in United Kingdom (2)

Monday
Jul232012

Romney to Embark on First Foreign Trip of Candidacy

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney will display his foreign policy prowess this week when he embarks on the first foreign trip of his candidacy, making stops in the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland on a six-day trip his staff describes as a learning opportunity, rather than an effort to define his foreign policy.

"There are a number of challenges the world faces today, and it's an opportunity for [Romney] to visit a country that each have a strong and important relationship with the United States," said policy director Lanhee Chen, adding that the trip will serve as a chance for Romney "to demonstrate a clear a resolute stand with nations that share our values and possess the fortitude to defend those values in the name of a more peaceful world."

"We don't anticipate that this is an opportunity for the governor to make any specific policy pronouncements," said Chen, who said specifics on his foreign policy would be outlined in more detail during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., on the eve of the trip overseas.  "He is really abroad to learn and to listen.  There will be other opportunities for the governor to articulate additional policy prescriptions and foreign policy."

While much of Romney's itinerary is already being compared with that of then-candidate Barack Obama, the president will not be a focal point of Romney's trip, Chen said, clarifying that contrast between the president's foreign policies and Romney's will be "kept here in the states."

Here's a look at how Romney will spend his time overseas:

First stop: London

The highlight of Romney's stop in the United Kingdom will be attending the Olympic Opening Ceremonies on Friday.  Romney, who ran the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, will also attend other Olympic events while in London with his wife, Ann, who will remain at the games to watch her dressage horse compete.

But the couple of days Romney spends in London -- the candidate arrives there on Wednesday -- will also be filled with a series of meetings with British officials, including Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne and foreign Secretary William Hague.  He will also meet with the leader of the opposition Labor Party, Ed Milliband, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Second stop: Israel

The second leg of Romney's trip will begin Saturday, when the candidate arrives in Israel, his fourth trip to the Middle Eastern country.  The highlight of this portion of the trip is a major speech in Jerusalem, which aides say will "project Gov. Romney's strong view that America needs to stand by its allies, particularly allies that are under siege like Israel, particularly democratic allies who have such a shared history and shared values with America."

In addition to a number of public events in Israel, Romney will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he has a long personal history, as well as President Shimon Peres.  Meetings with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro are also scheduled.

Third stop: Poland

Romney's third and final stop of the trip comes at the invitation of former Polish President Lech Walesa.  The meeting between Romney and Walesa will take place in Gdansk, before the candidate moves to Warsaw for more meetings and another keynote speech.  

Romney is also expected to visit historical sites throughout Poland. He will also meet with the leadership of the Polish government, including President Bronislaw Komorowski, Prime Minister Donald Tusk and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May252011

Obama Heralds US/UK Exceptionalism in Address to British Parliament

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- In a rare speech by a foreign leader to the British Parliament in Westminster Hall, President Obama heralded what might be called American/British exceptionalism, in terms of how both countries have evolved and grown, and how the United States and United Kingdom are the only world superpowers trying to help other peoples do so.

The shared ideals show that "it's possible for the sons and daughters of former colonies to sit here as members of this great Parliament," the president said, referring to the Members of Parliament of Indian, Pakistani, and African descent, "and for the grandson of a Kenyan who served as a cook in the British Army to stand before you as President of the United States."

The president said that the two nations, unlike most others, "do not define citizenship based on race or ethnicity. Being American or British is not about belonging to a certain group. It's about believing in a certain set of ideals -- the rights of individuals and the rule of law."

In a veiled criticism of emerging superpowers such as India and China, the president said that "Americans and British have always believed that the future of our children and grandchildren will be better if other people's children and grandchildren are more prosperous and free -- from the beaches of Normandy, to the Balkans to Benghazi. That is our interest and our ideal. And if we fail to meet that responsibility, who would take our place?"

Customarily only monarchs address both Houses of Parliament in the Hall, originally built in 1097 under William II (Rufus), the son of William the Conqueror. President Obama was only the fourth foreign leader since World War II to speak in Westminster, following the Pope in September 2010, Nelson Mandela in 1996, and Charles de Gaulle in 1960.

"I'm told the last three speakers here have been The Pope, Her Majesty the Queen, and Nelson Mandela," the president said at the beginning of his speech, "which is either a very high bar or the beginning of a very funny joke."

The president arrived Wednesday at the Sovereign's Entrance of the Palace of Westminster and was met by Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod and Lord Great Chamberlin, and given a tour of Parliament. He spoke before a crowd of 1,600, including 1,400 from the Houses of Commons and Lords, and 200 invited guests.

The president cited the NATO campaign in Libya as an example of their shared values, telling the crowd that "it would have been easy at the outset of the crackdown in Libya to say that none of this was our business -- that a nation's sovereignty is more important than the slaughter of civilians within its borders. That argument carries weight with some. But we are different. We embrace a broader responsibility."

He pledged to "not relent until the people of Libya are protected, and the shadow of tyranny is lifted."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio