President Obam and David camerron stood shoulder to shoulder over Libya and Afghanistan today - and to flip burgers for the troops.
The President helped the Prime Minister cook a barbecue lunch for British and US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan in the No 10 rose garden before a press conference.
There they pledged to see through the conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya and each called on Colonel Gaddafi to step down. President Obama vowed to stand by "those who yearn for freedom and dignity and basic human rights".
He said there would be no let-up in the pressure we are applying. Mr Cameron said the Nato allies would be "turning up the heat" on Gaddafi and said their aim would be to promote the Arab Spring to a "turning point in history. Mr Obama declared that the bond between their countries was "stronger than ever".
"It is a special relationship and an essential relationship," he said. "I believe it is stronger than it has ever been and I am committed to making it stay that way." There were chinks of difference between the leaders, however. Mr Cameron did not mention "1967 borders" in relation to Israel. And the President's language on Libya suggested sticking with current US involvement, rather than increasing it.
On a lighter note Mr Cameron said that the barbecue was the first time an American president had been given "a bit of a grilling" by a British leader. Michelle and Samantha smiled and chatted at the barbecue. Mrs Cameron was dressed in a pale summer dress and green belt and Mrs Obama wore a brown patterned jumper and skirt.
Mr Cameron paid personal tribute to the President who, like him, had "come of age" in the Eighties. "I have come to value not just his leadership and courage but the fact that to all the big international issues he brings thoughtful consideration and reason."
He went on: "From the beaches of Normandy to the Imjin river, our soldiers have fought together. From labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Cambridge, England, our scientists have decoded DNA and cured diseases together. And in millions of interactions every day, including our massive business relationship, our people forge friendships together.
"That is what makes this relationship special. But what makes it essential is that it's not just about history or sentiment. It is a living, working partnership. It is essential to our security and it's essential to our prosperity."
Mr Cameron said they could defeat al Qaeda. "There are those who say that this terrorist threat is beyond our control and we passionately believe that is wrong." On the Libyan despot, he said: "We restate our position once more: it is impossible to imagine a future for Libya with Gaddafi still in power - he must go."
Mr Obama reassured the British audience he would not wind down American participation in the operation to rein in the Gaddfi regime. He said: "We will continue to oppose the use of violence against protesters and any efforts to silence those who yearn for freedom and dignity and basic human rights - that's one of the reasons we are working together in Libya alongside our Nato allies.
"We will continue those operations until Gaddafi's attacks on civilians cease. Time is working against Gaddafi and he must step down from power and leave Libya to the Libyan people."
Earlier Mr Obama took a place at the Cabinet table today as Mr Cameron hailed the "living-working partnership" of Britain and America.
In an unusual honour, the President and his officials were allowed to use the Cabinet room for talks. Huge crowds of Londoners turned out to cheer the President as his motorcade swept through the capital.
Mr Cameron strode out to greet his visitor as the presidential car turned into Downing Street from Buckingham Palace. After 20 minutes of one-on-one talks they were joined by Nick Clegg who told Mr Obama: "You've brought the sun today." After the news conference, Mr Obama headed to Westminster Hall to make a speech to MPs and peers.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2011
Strengthened Collaboration Between the United States and United Kingdom
The Prime Minister and President Obama announced today six specific areas where the United Kingdom and the United States will strengthen our cooperation in the coming months. They span security and support to Armed Forces personnel; commitments to collaboration in science, higher education, volunteerism and international development; and the development of cyberspace.
Strengthened collaboration in science and higher education
The UK and the United States will increase the links between our higher education institutions through increased post-graduate student and researcher exchange programs. We will also collaborate on a number of significant research projects and will embark together on an ambitious program to create the world’s first combined space weather model.
Support for Armed Forces Personnel
The UK and the U.S. will work together through the establishment of a Service Personnel and Veterans Task Force with the aim of delivering the best possible support for serving members of the Armed Forces and veterans. It will focus on linking service personnel, veterans and families to their local communities; helping those leaving the Services into civilian life; and supporting wounded, injured and sick personnel.
UK-U.S. Partnership for Global Development
The Prime Minister and President reaffirmed their commitment to changing the lives of 1.2 billion people in the world today. The UK and the U.S. will work together to advance economic growth; prevent conflict in fragile states; improve global health particularly for girls and women; and mitigate the effects of climate change.
U.S. Peace Corps and VSO Partnership on Volunteerism
The U.S. Peace Corps and VSO will jointly promote volunteering and active citizenship through people to people exchanges. They will work together alongside local communities and organisations on development priorities and they will enhance their effectiveness by sharing best practice in training, systems and innovation.
Increased cooperation in cyberspace
The UK and the U.S. will work together to nurture and accelerate the opportunities and growth that cyberspace offers the global economy by building international consensus on the broad principles that will sustain and enhance the prosperity, security and openness of our networked world.
Analyzing future challenges in the global economic and security environment
A UK-U.S. Joint Strategy Board will help to develop a coordinated approach to long term challenges in the global economic and security environment. The Board will be co-chaired by the U.S. National Security Staff and the UK National Security Secretariat. It will meet quarterly and will report to the U.S. and UK National Security Advisors, Thomas E. Donilon and Sir Peter Ricketts.
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 24, 2011
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
AND HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
IN DINNER TOASTS
London, United Kingdom
8:47 P.M. BST
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Mr. President, I am delighted to welcome you and Mrs. Obama to London. Prince Philip and I are so glad that you are visiting the United Kingdom again.
We have fond memories of our first meeting during the G20 conference in London in 2009. It also gave me much pleasure to welcome Mrs. Obama and your two daughters here almost two years ago.
Your visit to this country inevitably reminds us of our shared history, our common language, and our strong intellectual and cultural links. It also reminds us that your country twice came to the rescue of the free and democratic world when it was facing military disaster. On each occasion, after the end of those destructive wars, the generosity of the United States made a massive contribution to our economic recovery.
Today, the United States remains our most important ally, and our two nations contribute to the security and prosperity of our peoples and of the world through shared national interests.
But our relationship goes far beyond our military and diplomatic ties. In your inaugural address, you spoke to the American people of the values that lay at the heart of your nation’s success -- honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism, and of the sturdy alliances an enduring convictions with which your nation had met past challenges and would meet future ones, too.
If I may say so, these values underscore much of the life of the United Kingdom, also. Together with our alliance, they continue to guide our actions as we confront the challenges of a changing world.
It is unfortunate that there are so many troubles facing the world today. But we are encouraged that in most respects our two countries see these problems in the same light. For this reason, we have been able to act together in fields as varied as science, research, and higher education, to find solutions or to at least make progress towards tackling so many of the social and economic difficulties that confront nations in all parts of the globe.
Entertainment may not be so obviously an example of our close ties, but it forms part of the lives of a great many of our people. Over the years, we have enjoyed some of America’s most spectacular musical productions and any number of what we call films, which you might prefer to call movies. (Laughter.) In return, British films and theatrical productions have achieved considerable success in your country.
This exchange of people and projects has enlarged and invigorated our common language, although I think you will agree, we don't always use it in quite the same way. (Laughter.)
Mr. President, I firmly believe that the strength of our links and many shared interests will continue to ensure that when the United States and the United Kingdom stand together, our people and other people of goodwill around the world will be more secure and can become more prosperous.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are here to celebrate the tried, tested, and, yes, special relationship between our two countries. I, therefore, ask you now to join me in raising your glasses to the continued health, happiness, and prosperity of the people of the United States of America, and especially to the health of President and Mrs. Obama.
(A toast is offered.) (The National Anthem is played.) (Applause.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Your Majesty, thank you for your extraordinarily generous remarks, for the invitation you extended for our first state visit in Europe, and for the warm friendship that you’ve shown both Michelle and myself on both of our visits to Buckingham Palace.
I bring warm greetings from tens of millions of Americans who claim British ancestry, including me, through my mother’s family. I bring warm greetings from Malia and Sasha, who adored you even before you let them ride on a carriage on the palace grounds. (Laughter.)
Prime Minister Cameron, Mrs. Cameron, distinguished guests, it is a great honor to join you again in this great country as we reaffirm the enduring bonds between our two nations and reinforce this special relationship.
I must say, though, this dinner is a humbling reminder of the fleeting nature of presidencies and prime ministerships. Your Majesty’s reign has spanned about a dozen of each, and counting. That makes you both a living witness to the power of our alliance and a chief source of its resilience.
Our alliance is a commitment that speaks to who we are. As Winston Churchill said on a visit to the United States, “Above all, among the English-speaking peoples, there must be the union of hearts based upon convictions and common ideals.“
While our challenges have changed since Churchill’s time, when we fought together to preserve our very democracies, our adherence to those values have not. Our relationship rests on common language, common history, common adherence to the rule of law, the rights of men and women -- the very ideals born in this nation. And yet our relationship never rests.
As we appreciate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I’m particularly grateful for the solidarity that the United Kingdom has shown to America over the past decade. From that day to this, you have been our closest partner in the struggle to protect our people from terrorist attacks and violent extremism around the world, despite very heavy sacrifices here. And allow me to pay tribute to the contributions of your military forces, which have stood shoulder to shoulder with us for decades.
And as we confront the challenges of the 21st century, together, we can have confidence in the partnership that our two countries share, based on the rock-solid foundation built during Queen Elizabeth’s lifetime of extraordinary service to her nation and to the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, please stand with me and raise your glasses as I propose a toast:
To Her Majesty the Queen. For the vitality of the special relationship between our peoples, and in the words of Shakespeare, “To this blessed plot, this Earth, this realm, this England.”
To the Queen.
(A toast is offered.) (Applause.)