US Embassy upgrade to cost £16 million instead of estimated £190,000
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US Embassy upgrade to cost £16 million instead of estimated £190,000

Despite claims made by President Trump that work would cost maximum £300,000, a US firm is awarded a £16m contract

Presentation of colours by U.S Marines and singing of the U.S national anthem during the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, Monday, May 14, 2018.  

(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Presentation of colours by U.S Marines and singing of the U.S national anthem during the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, Monday, May 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

The new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem is going to cost a bit more than President Donald Trump had estimated. Make that nearly 100 times more.

The Maryland-based firm Desbuild Limak D&K was awarded a £16m ($21.2 million) contract to design and build “compound security upgrades” to the embassy, according to official documents uploaded this weekAl-Monitor reported.

The U.S. has already spent £253,000 ($335,402) to refurbish the embassy, formerly a consulate, ahead of its May opening.

“We’re going to have it built very quickly and inexpensively,” Trump told reporters in March following his decision months earlier to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy there. “They put an order in front of my desk last week for £755m ($1 billion). … We’re actually doing it for about £188,000 ($250,000), so check that out.”

Trump repeated this and similar claims numerous times, eventually raising the price to £300,000 ($400,000) during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“As the president stated, the cost of initial modifications made to permit the embassy to open on May 14 was approximately £300,000 ($400,000) ,” a State Department official told Al-Monitor. “Following the May 14 opening, we have moved on to planning for and construction of a new extension and security enhancements at the interim site.”

The £16m  ($21.5 m) total “is actually a lot for that considering that they have plans apparently to purchase a new facility,” an aide in the House of Representatives told Al-Monitor.

The Trump administration has not announced when it plans to begin construction on a permanent embassy.

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