President Tony Tan to make first state visit to Britain

President Tony Tan to make first state visit to Britain

SINGAPORE - President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his wife Mary will make a state visit to Britain in October for three days.

It is at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II and will be the first state visit to the country by a Singapore president, said the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Friday.

The visit, from Oct 21 to 23, comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of relations between the two countries in 2015. It also marks the excellent and longstanding ties between them, said the ministry in a statement.

During the visit, President and Mrs Tan will stay at Buckingham Palace, said AFP news agency.

British Prime Minister David Cameron had discussed the state visit with the Queen on Wednesday during his weekly audience with her, it added. He reportedly said: "I was discussing this with Her Majesty last night and she is very much looking forward to it.

"It's excellent news and a moment, I think, to demonstrate our close economic, political and strategic ties."

The announcement was made during Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's visit to London. PM Lee met Mr Cameron for talks at 10 Downing Street on Thursday, and later received London's Freedom of the City award at a dinner hosted by London's Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf and the City of London.

On Friday, Mr Lee had a dialogue at think-tank Chatham House with diplomats, academics and students.

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