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London statue of Reagan inaugurated

Former US president Ronald Reagan is to be honoured with the unveiling of a statue to mark 100 years since his birth.

Foreign Secretary William Hague and former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will attend the US Embassy in London to reveal the 10-foot bronze figure.

Ms Rice is representing the late president's widow Nancy Reagan at the ceremony, which coincides with the US Independence Day celebrations.

It is thought that Mr Reagan's great political ally and friend, former prime minister Baroness Thatcher, will not be able to attend due to her physical frailty.

The statue of Mr Reagan was commissioned as part of a year of celebrations to mark what would have been the 100th birthday of the former US president. It will stand alongside existing statues of other illustrious American presidents such as Dwight Eisenhower and Franklin D Roosevelt.

Although the embassy is moving from its central London home next year, the statues will remain at their current Grosvenor Square location.

Ms Rice will give the keynote speech at a gala dinner for 700 people at The Guildhall later in the day. She is to explore the special relationship between the US and the UK and the relevance of Mr Reagan and Lady Thatcher's "freedom agenda", before Mr Hague replies.

The statue was commissioned by the Reagan Memorial Fund Trust. Rob Bauer, director of external affairs at the foundation, said: "President Reagan always referred to the United States' special relationship with Great Britain, especially his personal friendship with Baroness Thatcher. The Reagan Foundation commissioned the statue to honour that partnership and to celebrate an enduring alliance."

Mr Reagan died in 2004 at the age of 93, having served as US president between 1981 and 1989.

To acknowledge Mr Reagan's contribution to the end of the Cold War, a piece of the Berlin Wall will be installed in front of the statue.


From Belfast Telegraph