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Monday, 13 May 2013
David Cameron made a statement at a White House press conference. Originally given at Washington, USA.This is the text of the speech as drafted, which may differ slightly from the delivered version.
The relationship between Britain and the United States is a partnership without parallel. Day in day out, across the world, our diplomats and intelligence agencies work together, our soldiers serve together, our businesses trade with each other. In Afghanistan, our armed forces are together defending the stability that will make us all safer.
In the global economic race, our businesses are doing more than $17 billion of trade across the Atlantic every month. And in a changing world, our nations share a resolve to stand up for democracy, enterprise and freedom. We have discussed many issues today. Let me highlight three: Economic growth. The G8. And Syria.
Our greatest challenge is to secure a sustainable economic recovery. Each of us has to find the right solutions at home.
For all of us it means dealing with debt, restoring stability, getting the economy growing and together seizing new opportunities to grow our economies.
President Obama and I have both championed a free trade deal between the EU and US. And there is a real chance now to get the process launched in time for the G8.
So the next five weeks are crucial. To realise the huge benefits this deal could bring will take ambition and political will. That means everything on table, even the difficult issues, and no exceptions.
It’s worth the effort. For Britain alone, an ambitious deal could be worth up to £10bn a year - boosting industries from car manufacturing to financial services.
We discussed the G8 summit in detail. When we meet on the shores of Lough Erne in Northern Ireland five weeks from today, I want to agree ambitious action for economic growth. Open trade is at the heart of this. But we have a broader agenda too: to make sure everyone shares the benefits of greater openness, not just in our advanced economies, but in the developing world too. I’m an unashamedly pro-business politician. But as we open up our economies to get business growing, we need to make sure all companies pay their taxes properly and enable citizens to hold their Governments and businesses to account.
Today we’ve agreed that to tackle the scourge of tax evasion, we need to know who really owns a company, who profits from it and where their taxes are paid. And we need a new mechanism to track where multinationals make their money and where they pay their taxes. so that we can stop those who are manipulating system unfairly.
Finally, we discussed the brutal conflict in Syria.80,000 dead. 5 million forced from their homes. Syria’s history is being written in the blood of its people. And it is happening on our watch.
The world urgently needs to come together to bring the killing to an end. None of us have any interest in seeing more lives lost, chemical weapons used, or extremist violence spreading.
So we welcome President Putin’s agreement to join an effort to achieve a political solution. The challenges remain formidable. But we have an urgent window of opportunity, before the worst fears are realised.
There’s no more urgent international task than this. We need to get Syrians to the table to agree a transitional government that can win the consent of all Syrians.
But there will be no political process unless the opposition is able to withstand the onslaught, and put pressure on Assad so he knows there is no military victory. So we will also increase our efforts to support and shape the moderate opposition.
Britain is pushing for more flexibility in the EU arms embargo. And we will double non-lethal support to the Syrian opposition in the coming year. Armoured vehicles, body armour and power generators are about to be shipped, we are helping local councils govern the areas they liberate and supporting Lebanon and Jordan to deal with the influx of refugees.
We will also do more for those in desperate humanitarian need. Care for trauma injuries. Helping torture victims recover. Getting Syrian families clean drinking water and food.
There is now common ground between the US, UK, Russia and many others that whatever our differences we have the same aim, a stable, inclusive and peaceful Syria free from the scourge of extremists. There’s real political will behind this. We just need to get on and make it happen.