Obama praises 'smart' Cameron

2010-05-13 09:15
Washington - US President Barack Obama offered a lavish endorsement of David Cameron on Wednesday, as the new British prime minister got down to work on Britain's strained public finances with his new coalition.

Both sides announced, meanwhile, that Foreign Secretary William Hague will make an early trip to Washington on Friday to take up a relationship that was sometimes perceived as awkward under Gordon Brown's premiership.

Obama praised Conservative Party leader Cameron as he took up the reins of a coalition with Britain's Liberal Democrats, which some observers fear may not be sufficiently robust to make tough decisions on the economy.

"I find him to be a smart, dedicated, effective leader and somebody who we are going to be able to work with very effectively," Obama said when asked if the new British government would weaken its commitment to the Afghan war.

"He reaffirmed, without me bringing it up, his commitment to our strategy in Afghanistan."

"And I am confident that the new government is going to recognise that it is in the interest of all the coalition partners to help President Karzai succeed," Obama said as he stood alongside the Afghan leader.

Obama called Cameron on Tuesday moments after he walked into 10 Downing Street as Brown's successor, following five days of bargaining with the Liberal Democrats.

Solid relationship

A British Foreign Office spokesperson said Hague had been invited to Washington on Friday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The US side offered a slightly different account of how the visit came about.

"He offered to come on Friday and she accepted right on the spot and said 'we look forward to having you here'," Clinton spokesperson Philip Crowley told reporters, detailing the five-minute phone call between the two.

Hague said on Tuesday that the new British government wanted a "solid but not slavish relationship" with the United States.

"No doubt we will not agree on everything," he said. "But they remain, in intelligence matters, in nuclear matters, in international diplomacy, in what we are doing in Afghanistan, the indispensable partner of this country."

In comments that will be warmly welcomed in London, Obama praised the "extraordinary, special relationship between the United States and Great Britain; one that outlasts any individual party, any individual leader".

"It is built up over centuries, and it's not going to go away."

Pressure

There have been repeated questions in London and Washington whether Obama is as committed to the relationship with Britain as previous presidents, as he seeks to forge better ties with the developing world.

As Obama's comments showed, Britain is most valued here for signing up to US military operations overseas, like Afghanistan.

But with the British military braced for massive budget cuts, some in Washington wonder how long London will pack a significant punch overseas.

Cameron may also face US pressure on Europe: Traditionally the White House likes to see Britain engaged on the continent.

Cameron's Conservatives, however, are riven with splits over Europe, and their Euro-scepticism may limit their clout on the continent.

Many of the Liberal Democrats are hugely pro-Europe, and the coalition deal appears to have formalised a split in the heart of the new British government.

Synergy

While Obama and Brown forged respect while battling the deepest economic crisis in decades, they seemed an odd political couple.

Some observers say Obama treated Brown brusquely at first, and insulted some Britons when he removed a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office.

The White House repeatedly denied it snubbed Brown, and despaired of tales of Anglo-US tension whipped up by the British press.

"Cameron is a very smooth, polished character," said Reginald Dale of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

"He has more of the social graces than Gordon Brown, who was an angular, crusty character, who was always seething underneath."

Obama and Cameron, who met in London in 2008, may find some personal synergy. Both are pragmatic, largely non-ideological, and see themselves as the embodiment of political change.

Cameron, the youngest British prime minister in nearly 200 years, will travel to Washington in July to meet Obama, who inspired youthful legions of voters en route to the White House.

Read more on:    liberal democrats  |  conservative party  |  david cameron  |  barack obama  |  uk  |  uk elections
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
5 crucial questions to ask before you take that job 2014-10-30 08:00

You choose your employer just as much as they choose you. Here are 5 of the most important things you should find out about a company before you sign up.

/News
 

LOL! Best outdoor girl fails

It’s not only guys who have FAIL moments! Here are some of the funniest outdoor fails where girls are the victims!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

90-year-old's incredible travels
10 facts about swimming you didn't know
Halloween night run
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be some tension that is caused through social conflicts -- personal interests versus obligations. You may feel an...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.