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Day of diplomacy for Obama, Cameron in Britain

[ 2011-05-26 11:12]     字号 [] [] []  
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US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron confronted complex security debates over Afghanistan, Libya and economic growth on Wednesday on a day of diplomacy amid testing times for the two allies.

Midway through his six-day, four-country European tour, Obama held private meetings at the prime minister's residence at 10 Downing Street with Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, as well as the two countries' national security teams.

The US president faced a host of knotty problems to work through with his British counterpart, including troop levels in Afghanistan and disagreements over the NATO-led bombing campaign in Libya. His larger mission, though, was to reassure European allies that they still are valued partners in a US foreign policy that increasingly looks to Asia.

Obama turned back to grinding policy issues on Wednesday after opening his European tour with two days of celebration and ceremony, first in Ireland and then on Tuesday in England, where he and Michelle Obama toured Westminster Abbey and feasted at Buckingham Palace as state guests of the queen.

There were also lighter duties on Wednesday, as Obama and Cameron capped their bilateral meetings by rolling up their sleeves to flip burgers at a barbecue hosted by their wives to honor the sacrifices of their militaries. Dozens of active-duty troops from the US and Britain along with some spouses attended the event in the backyard of 10 Downing Street, underscoring a partnership just announced between the two countries to share resources to help service members and their families.

Obama's message to allies across Europe, and Britain in particular, will be that their longstanding partnerships remain the cornerstone of US engagement with the world even as the president seeks to strengthen US ties with emerging powers such as China and India.

"There is no other alliance that assumes the burdens that we assume on behalf of peace and security," said Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

Aides said the president would stress that the relationship between the US and its European allies is about more than military cooperation, and is essential to the spread of democratic values at a time when political unrest is sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa.

"We see the prospect of democracy and universal rights taking hold in the Arab world, and it fills us with confidence and a renewed commitment to an alliance based not just on interests but on values," Obama and Cameron wrote in a joint editorial published in Tuesday's edition of The Times of London.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Day of diplomacy for Obama, Cameron in Britain

About the broadcaster:

Day of diplomacy for Obama, Cameron in Britain

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.