September 12, 2018 08:21
U.S. President Donald Trump will not visit Ireland next month as planned, according to officials in Dublin.
The visit has been postponed for "scheduling reasons," the Irish government announced on Tuesday.
However, following the Irish government's announcement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, "We are still finalizing whether Ireland will be a stop on that trip," noting the president still is set to be in Paris on Nov. 11 to participate in a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice.
Cancellation of the Irish leg, which had been slated for November 12, was first reported by the Independent newspaper in Dublin and public broadcaster RTE.
The Ireland stop was intended "to renew the deep and historic ties between our two nations," as the White House put it in an August 31 announcement about the trip.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar visited Trump at the White House in March.
Speaking on RTE radio on September 2, Varadkar acknowledged being surprised the U.S. president was planning to visit in November, despite an open invitation to Trump to visit at any time, saying, "It came a little bit out of the blue."
Trump had been scheduled to spend a day in Dublin before traveling to Doonbeg on the Atlantic coast in County Clare where he owns a golf course.
"The development will come as a massive relief" to the Irish government, according to the Independent newspaper, which termed Trump's trip controversial with plans by the Labor and Green parties to protest the U.S. president's visit.
Prior to word of the cancelation, the leader of the centrist Fianna Fail party, Micheál Martin, said Trump's visit would be "an opportunity to talk to him and articulate our position on a range of issues that we're not currently happy with."
There are still two other announced international destinations on the president's November travel schedule: the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a meeting in Colombia with President Ivan Duque to discuss "opportunities for even greater collaboration on security, counter narcotics, and regional affairs," according to the White House.
Trump, in November, is to skip attending in Singapore the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit and the East Asia Summit, as well as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in Papua New Guinea.
The president is dispatching Vice President Mike Pence to attend those meetings.
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