NPR logo Obama, Cameron Express Unity On Libya, Mideast Peace Process


Obama, Cameron Express Unity On Libya, Mideast Peace Process

British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama earlier today (May 25, 2011). Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama earlier today (May 25, 2011).

Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron held a joint news conference in London this morning during which they restated their nations' commitment to the military campaign in Libya and spoke about efforts to restart the Middle East peace process.

We live-blogged as they spoke. Scroll down to see how it played out.

Later this morning, the president will address parliament. We'll be live-blogging that as well.

Obama is about half-way through a six-day, four-nation trip that began with a stop in Ireland. He heads to France on Thursday for the annual G8 summit. The trip ends in Poland on Saturday. On Sunday, Obama is scheduled to tour the destruction in Joplin, Mo., which was devastated by a tornado this past Sunday.

Update at 8:48 a.m. ET. At The End, The President Speaks Of The Tornado Disasters:

Obama wraps up the news conference by thanking Cameron for expressing the concern of the British people for the victims of the recent tornadoes in the U.S.

"We have been battered by some storms, not just this week but in the last several months," Obama says. "Knowing that we've got friends in the United Kingdom who care deeply and offer their thoughts and parayers makes all the difference in the world."

Update at 8:45 a.m. ET. Cameron Says Obama Laid Out What Israel And The Palestinians "Need To Know":

The British leader says that in Obama's Middle East policy address last week he described "what both sides absolutely need to know." Israel was assured that "their security is absolutely key to us." The Palestinians were assured that "we understand their need for dignity and a state ... using the '67 borders as a start."

Update at 8:43 a.m. ET. The U.N. Can't "Deliver A Palestinian State," Obama Says:

Addressing the upcoming effort by Palestinian leaders to gain U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state, an approach the U.S. opposes, the president says "the United Nations is not going to be able to ... deliver a Palestinian state" because that can only happen if the two parties reach an agreement.

Update at 8:39 a.m. ET. Last Question; Is The "Palestinian Right Of Return" A Fantasy?

In his address before congress on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the "Palestinian right of return" issue "a fantasy."

The emotional issues of who controls Jerusalem and where Palestinian refugees will live can be resolved, Obama says, "if there is the prospect and the promise that we can actually get to a Palestinian state and a secure state of Israel."

To make progress, he adds, the two sides must resume talking.

Update at 8:33 a.m. ET. On Alleged Hacker Gary McKinnon:

Asked about the high-profile case of Gary McKinnon, who is fighting extradition from the U.K. to the U.S. to face charges of hacking into U.S. military computers, Obama says: "we have proceeded through all the processes required under our extradition agreements. It is now in the hands of the British legal system."

Update at 8:30 a.m. ET. Third Question; Has Cameron Gone "Too Far, Too Fast" On Debt And Deficit Issues With His Austerity Measures?

"Each country is different," Obama says. And now the U.S., U.K. and other governments have a challenge: "how do we sustain growth in a way that's responsible?"

"David and I want to arrive at the same point," Obama continues: making sure their governments "are doing what they need to do to maintain prosperity ... without mortgaging our futures."

Update at 8:25 a.m. ET. There Are No "Secret" Weapons That Will "Solve The Situation In Libya," Obama Says:

There is a "false perception" among some, the president says, "that there are a whole bunch of secret, super-effective air assets" that could be used to "immediately solve the situation in Libya. ... That's not the case."

Update at 8:24 a.m. ET. Second Question; Will The U.S. Stay In Coalition Until Gadhafi Steps Down?

The president says the U.S. is taking part in the campaign against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to protect the Libyan people and give them "the space the need" to determine their own destiny.

"We are strongly committed to seeing the job through, [and] making sure that at minimum Gadhafi doesn't have the capacity to send in a bunch of thugs" to threaten and kill the Libyan people, Obama says.

"Ultimately," he adds, Gadhafi is "going to step down."

Update at 8:16 a.m. ET. No Let-Up In Libya, Obama Says:

It is important that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi understands that the U.S., U.K. and their allies will not be letting up and will continue to pressure him to stop attacking his people and step down, the president says.

Update at 8:15 a.m. ET. First Question; An Escalation Of War In Libya?

Cameron is asked if he can confirm "an escalation of the war in Libya" involving the use of "ground attack" helicopters.

"We will be looking at all the options of turning up [the] pressure" on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Cameron says, within the guidelines of the U.N. resolution that authorized taking action against the Gadhafi regime.

Update at 8:10 a.m. ET. Obama On Repression In North Africa And The Middle East:

The U.S., U.K. and their allies will "continue to strongly oppose the use of violence against protesters" in nations where people are demanding reform, Obama says. He hails the European Union's decision to join the U.S. in placing sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Update at 8:07 a.m. ET. Obama Says U.S. And U.K. Ties Are Stronger Than Ever:

In his opening statement, the president says that the U.S.-U.K. relationship is "built on shared ideals and shared values. ... [And] it is stronger than it's ever been and I'm committed to making sure it stays that way."

Update at 8:04 a.m. ET. Cameron On Defeating Terrorism And The Arab Spring:

The prime minister says that Britain, the U.S. and their allies must take three actions:

— "Continue to destroy" terrorist networks. "And I congratulated the president on his action against bin Laden."

— "Reach a conclusion to the Arab peace process," and he called Obama's Middle East policy address last week, "bold, visionary."

— "Help elevate the changes in North Africa and the Middle East from a moment in history to a turning point in history."

Update at 7:57 a.m. ET. "Thoughtful Consideration And Reason":

In his opening remarks, Cameron — a conservative — begins by saying of the president that, "I've come to value not just his leadership and courage, but the fact that to all the big international issues of the time he brings thoughtful consideration and reason."

Cameron also notes that the president's thoughts must be with the people of Joplin.

Update at 7:56 a.m. ET: The leaders have stepped to the microphones.

Update at 7:40 a.m. ET: Obama and Cameron wrote Tuesday in The Times of London that the U.S. and the U.K. have "not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship — for us and for the world."