'Essential' relationship for daunting year

David Cameron, right, and Barack Obama in the gardens of Lancaster House, London, in May 2011 The leaders speak about a "partnership of the heart" in a newspaper editorial

No meeting between a British prime minister and a US president would be complete without some transatlantic agonising about the state of the "special relationship".

David Cameron and Barack Obama will today try to head that off with both words and pictures.

In a joint article for the Washington Post the two leaders write of a relationship which is not just special but "essential - to our nations and the world... a partnership of the heart, bound by the history, traditions and values we share".

If that's not enough to silence the doubters the prime minister will later this evening become the first foreign leader to be welcomed aboard Air Force One by President Obama.

The two men will head to Ohio - a crucial swing state - to watch a game of basketball. The truth is that they need each other to face a daunting international agenda over the year ahead.

They'll discuss plans for what they call "the next phase of the transition" in Afghanistan - in other words the gradual withdrawal of troops over the next two years. They are promising to "continue to tighten the noose around (Syrian President) Assad and his cohorts".

Perhaps the most significant conversation will, though, be about Iran. Publicly they write about there being "time and space for a diplomatic solution".

Privately they will want to discuss what to do if Israel is set on war.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    I'd rather be closer to Europe where at least we have some democratic legitimacy and a say on what happens than the lapdog of the US.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Nick: "No meeting between a British prime minister and a US president would be complete without some transatlantic agonising about the state of the "special relationship".

    And the misinformed critiques and derisive comments of one another's leaders and peoples not giving two hoots about it to boot.

    It would be wonderful if for once we could try to assess matters in a fair and positive way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    isJonny #1. . .

    I passionately and unreservedly deplore some of the ways in which my current foreign representative (and, shamefully, some of his predecessors) have treated (in my view) the best thing that has ever happened to my country, and on behalf of all respectful Americans, offer my sincerest apologies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    The only people that seem to agonise over the "special relationship" are the BBC. You're obsessed with it. Nobody else cares on either side of the Atlantic! Give it a rest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Since when has the EU been democratic? Merkozy instruct nations to change their elected leaders to technocrats on a whim.

    The major difference between the USA and EU is that the UK runs a healthy trading surplus with the USA and a huge trading deficit with the EU.


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