President Barack Obama is to have lunch at the White House with defeated Republican election rival Mitt Romney, officials have confirmed.
Thursday’s face-to-face will be their first meeting since Barack Obama overcame Mitt Romney in the November 6th election.
On election night Barack Obama pledged to meet Mitt Romney for talks on how to “move this country forward”.
The pair sparred in a bitter campaign and are said to have little rapport.
Over the course of three presidential debates, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney interrupted each other frequently and sniped aggressively over policy and principle.
However, they are now to meet in the private dining room at the White House, and the press will not be permitted to cover the lunch, the White House said on Wednesday.
The meeting comes as Barack Obama and the Democrats negotiate with congressional Republicans over the impending “fiscal cliff” – a combination of tax rises and spending cuts set to occur on 1 January.
The measures were partly put in place within a 2011 deal to curb the yawning US budget deficit, but also include the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans.
During the campaign, Mitt Romney called for sharp spending and tax cuts to fix the deficit. Barack Obama insists the wealthy should pay more in taxes.
Mitt Romney has dropped out of sight since the election, and analysts say he has little influence on congressional Republicans.