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Transition of power discussed at meeting between Donald Trump and Barack Obama

Donald Trump has held his first talks with outgoing US President Barack Obama aimed at securing a smooth transition of power.

The discussion in the president's Oval Office in the White House - originally scheduled for no more than 15 minutes - lasted for almost an hour and a half.

Afterwards the president-elect said their talks had been wide-ranging, with Mr Obama explaining "some of the difficulties" the country faced but also "some of the really great things that have been achieved".

Mr Obama in turn said he was "encouraged" by Mr Trump's willingness to work with his team, telling him: "We want to do everything we can to help you succeed because if you succeed the country succeeds".

The respectful tone adopted by the two men towards each other was in sharp contrast to the bitter, acrimonious exchanges which characterised the election campaign.

Earlier Mr Trump spoke with Theresa May for the first time since his stunning victory, inviting the Prime Minister to visit him in Washington "as soon as possible".

Mr Trump had talks with a series of world leaders including Ireland's Enda Kenny before speaking to Mrs May, but ministers insisted the "special relationship" remained intact.

The call did not happen until 1.45pm and Chancellor Philip Hammond suggested it may have been because there was "no urgent business" for the pair to discuss.

Downing Street said Mr Trump phoned the Prime Minister in a call which he used to stress his close personal ties to the UK.

Mr Trump's mother was Scottish and he has business interests including Turnberry golf club in the country.

A Downing Street spokesman said Mrs May congratulated Mr Trump on his victory in the "hard fought" campaign.

He said: "President-elect Trump set out his close and personal connections with, and warmth for, the UK. He said he was confident that the special relationship would go from strength to strength.

"The Prime Minister expressed her commitment to building and expanding the UK's relationships around the world, particularly after the referendum vote, and the importance of our partnership with the US.

"She noted President-elect Trump's commitment in his acceptance speech to uniting people across America, which she said is a task we all need to focus on globally.

"The Prime Minister said that we have a long history of shared values and added that she looked forward to that continuing in the future.

"She highlighted her wish to strengthen bilateral trade and investment with the US as we leave the EU.

"But she said that our relationship is so much more than that and our two countries have always stood together as close allies when it counts the most. President-elect Trump strongly agreed and added that the UK is a 'very, very special place for me and for our country'.

"The call ended with President-elect Trump inviting the Prime Minister to visit him as soon as possible."

On Mr Trump's anti-global trade stance, Mr Hammond said the president-elect should be given time to "sit with his advisers" and "consult widely".

The Chancellor said Britain is best served by open markets and free trade but also recognises that there are a "significant" number of people, like many of Mr Trump's supporters, left behind by globalisation.

But he warned against the "temptations" of protectionism, insisting open trade delivers long-term gain.

"The president-elect has only been the president-elect for two days," Mr Hammond said. "I think we should let him take stock and sit with his advisers and consult widely. Then of course we will look forward to engaging with him."

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