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[LONDON] The UK government says it still plans to have US President Donald Trump make a state visit to Britain even after a petition calling for the invitation to be rescinded attracted more than 1.8 million signatures.
The government "believes the president of the United States should be extended the full courtesy of a state visit," the Foreign Office said in a formal response to the petition on Tuesday.
"This invitation reflects the importance of the relationship between the US and the UK."
Prime Minister Theresa May announced that Mr Trump accepted an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II to make a formal state visit during her first press conference with the US president in Washington on Jan 27.
Initially hailed as a success by Mrs May's office, her US visit, which was shortly followed by Mr Trump's controversial travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim countries, provoked angry reactions at home.
Protests were held outside Mrs May's office and the speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said Mr Trump wouldn't be welcome to address Parliament.
A date has not yet been set for the visit. The petition, which will close on May 29, will be debated by lawmakers on Monday, though there won't be a vote and the discussion won't take place in the main chamber of the House of Commons.