Obama, Cameron call Britain-U.S. relationship "essential"

08:46, May 26, 2011      

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British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) and US President Barack Obama pose for photo outside No. 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, May 25, 2011. Cameron and Obama, who is on his first state visit to the UK from May 23 to May 26, held their formal bilateral meeting Wednesday. (Xinhua/Zeng Yi)

U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday emphasized that the relationship between their two countries is not only "special" but also "essential."

Cameron said at a joint news conference that Britain's relationship with the U.S. is a "living working partnership" that is "essential to security and prosperity."

Obama said the close relationship is based on "shared ideals and shared values." and is probably "stronger than it has ever been" despite the different political traditions of the two nations.

Shortly before the press conference, the two leaders held talks at No. 10 Downing Street for about 90 minutes.

The leaders said at the news conference that they discussed a number of subjects, including economic recovery, anti-terrorism efforts, including a review of the situation in Afganistan, and the ongoing unrest in the Mideast and North Africa.

Both leaders reiterated their calls for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down.

"It is impossible to envisage future for Libya to have Colonel Gadhafi still in power. He must go," Cameron said.

Obama said that Gadhafi would ultimately be forced to step down if NATO keeps up its military campaign with the U.S. playing a key role.

``I believe that we have built enough momentum that as long as we sustain the course we're on, he will step down,'' the president said.

The president ruled out a deadline for ending the U.S. role in Libya, saying the mission would end in a timely fashion.

"Ultimately this is going to be a slow, steady process in which we're able to wear down the regime forces,'' Obama said.

The two leaders affirmed their joint resolve despite complaints among some NATO countries about the reduced U.S. role since NATO took the lead after the initial days of the two-month-old campaign against Gadhafi.

But the president also said, ``David and I both agree that you can't put boots on the ground in Libya.''

Obama later was to address both Houses of Parliament at Westminster Hall, an honor usually reserved for British monarchs.

Source: Xinhua

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