Boris Johnson to meet White House aide Steve Bannon during US trip

Nicole Rojas
Boris Johnson

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will meet key White House aides, including Steve Bannon, during a trip to the US this week, although he will not meet the president himself.

Johnson is also expected to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Stephen Miller, Kellyanne Conway and Republican congressional leader.

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The foreign secretary will first visit Washington DC and then New York, The Guardian reported.

His visit comes after allegations by the White House that the UK's GCHQ helped former President Barack Obama spy on the Trump campaign. The remarks sparked a row between the two countries and prompted a scathing response from Sir Peter Westmacott, the former British ambassador to the US.

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GCHQ also responded, saying the accusations were "utterly ridiculous" and "should be ignored," Politico reported. According to The Guardian, a government source said Whitehall considered the issue resolved following regret and assurances from the US that the allegations would not be repeated.

Reports that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and national security adviser HR McMaster apologised were publicly denied by Spicer. Johnson is likely to meet McMaster but is not expected to bring up the controversy, sources said.

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The Foreign Office indicated Johnson's meetings would be "foreign policy heavy" with a focus on Russia, Nato, the Middle East and the fight against the Islamic State (Isis). A Foreign Office source told the Guardian that the meetings would also include "wide-ranging [talks] on domestic policy".

Following his trip to Washington, Johnson will head to New York to head a UN security council meeting that will focus on the ongoing famines in Somalia and South Sudan. According to The Independent, the foreign secretary will also host a major UN event on women's global empowerment.

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