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UK-US relationship 'essential' for security and prosperity - PM

Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama have spoken of the strength of the "special relationship" between the UK and US as they met in Washington.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

They held talks at the White House as Mr Cameron visited the US for the first time since becoming PM.

In a joint press conference following their discussion, Mr Cameron said the alliance would be ‘essential’ to make both countries secure and prosperous.

President Obama said:

When the United States and the United Kingdom stand together our people and people around the world are more secure and they are more prosperous. In short, the United States has no closer ally and no stronger partner than Great Britain and I appreciate the opportunity to renew our relationship with my partner Prime Minister Cameron.

The PM said:

We did have a very valuable opportunity today to discuss in real depth a strong and a shared agenda on Afghanistan, on global economic recovery and on the Middle East. And this relationship isn’t just, as you put it, an extraordinary special relationship, to me it is also an absolutely essential relationship if we are going to deliver the security and the prosperity that our people need.

He said that there was “no clearer, no more tangible illustration of Britain and America standing shoulder-to-shoulder in our national interests” than in Afghanistan.

The two leaders had met on the day that senior politicians from NATO countries and Afghanistan met in the Afghan capital to discuss progress in the country.

Mr Cameron and President Obama welcomed the agreements made at the Kabul Conference and reaffirmed their commitment to the strategy in Afghanistan, including training the Afghan national army and police to take on responsibility for security. The PM said they had also agreed on the need to reinvigorate the political strategy for Afghanistan.

He added:

Insurgencies tend not to be defeated by military means alone. There must also be political settlement.

Earlier, the Prime Minister had also discussed Afghanistan during a breakfast meeting with Vice President Joe Biden. A Downing Street spokesman said:

There was common ground on the full range of foreign policy issues. There was a strong shared commitment to delivering a stable Afghanistan, able to manage its own security. The Prime Minister and Vice-President welcomed developments at the Kabul Conference. They also agreed on the importance of maintaining strong relationships with Pakistan in support of continued action by Pakistani government against extremist groups on its territory.

Foreign Secretary William Hague and International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell attended the Kabul Conference. Read more about the conference on the FCO website.

Iran, UK-US trade, the Lockerbie bomber and BP were also among the topics under discussion during Mr Cameron’s and President Obama’s meeting. It was the second time they have held talks. Last month they met on the fringes of the G20 in Canada.

Speeches and Transcript: Joint press conference with President Barack Obama

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Published 21 July 2010