The most-awaited meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump has been postponed due to an approaching winter storm that is expected to hit northeastern US on Tuesday (14 March).
Weather warnings have prompted the cancellation of thousands of flights in the region and closure of several schools.
The two leaders, who have been critical of each other in the past, were due to meet on Tuesday, but Merkel said that she was on her way to the airport on Monday (13 March) when Trump called her and asked her to postpone the visit. The White House later confirmed in a statement that the meeting has been be rescheduled for 17 March.
Merkel reportedly continued to head to Berlin's Tegel airport following her brief conversation with Trump. "The trip is canceled. That is not a joke," she told the reporters who were already on board the government's Airbus A340 plane bound for Washington.
German officials said that top executives from three German companies – including Siemens and BMW – who were to travel with Merkel for the Washington visit will join her on Friday.
During the meeting at the White House – the two leaders who have had different views on immigration – are set to discuss a range of issues, including national and global security, dealing with Russia and President Vladimir Putin, the Ukraine conflict, Isis, the Middle East and Nato.
Contrary to Trump who is planning to build walls and has signed travel ban orders to keep immigrants out of America, Merkel has been welcoming refugees to the country despite criticism from anti-immigration parties.
According to Reuters, German officials expect the abrupt postponement to give the two leaders an "unexpected personal kick-start for discussions".