Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

UNITED WE STAND; PM HAILS 'WORKING PARTNERSHIP' AS HE SITS DOWN WITH PRESIDENT Obama and PM Pledge to Back Democracies in the Arab World

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

UNITED WE STAND; PM HAILS 'WORKING PARTNERSHIP' AS HE SITS DOWN WITH PRESIDENT Obama and PM Pledge to Back Democracies in the Arab World

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

PRESIDENT OBAMA took a place at the Cabinet table in 10 Downing Street today as David 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 in which he and the Prime Minister united to promise more help for the fledgling democracies in the Arab world.

The two leaders sat down in a cheerful atmosphere, with laughter as the President took his place at the historic coffin-shaped table. They then got down to the serious business, including a keynote agreement to a programme of political and economic support to elevate the so-called Arab Spring "from a moment in history to a turning point in history". 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, another sign of the seniority of the guest. The leaders shook hands and Mr Obama patted Mr Cameron on the shoulder.

They posed again on the steps of No 10 but there was no sign of Samantha Cameron or Michelle Obama, who were to host a barbecue for wounded troops in the rose garden. They then went upstairs to the White Room just before 10am for more pictures, until the President cut short the dozen frantic photographers with a jokey but firm: "All right guys, one of those must have worked." After 20 minutes of one-on-one talks they were joined by Nick Clegg who told Mr Obama: "You've brought the sun today." The President responded: "Wonderful to see you."

Their morning's agenda was filled with heavyweight international issues, in contrast to the pomp and pageantry of Mr Obama's official welcome yesterday on his State visit.

Sources said they discussed a range of key topics, although Foreign Secretary William Hague admitted there were "tactical differences" between the two nations.

One outcome was a package of economic and political measures to support countries such as Egypt and Tunisia. These will be put to tomor-row's G8 summit in France of the world's powerhouse economies. …

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