Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom in Joint Press Availability

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Prepared for: Zimvi.com The White House Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release July 20, 2010 Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom in Joint Press Availability East Room 1:58 P.M. EDT PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat. It is my great pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Cameron on his first visit to the White House as Prime Minister. We have just concluded some excellent discussions -- including whether the beers from
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  Prepared for: Zimvi.com  The White HouseOffice of the Press SecretaryFor Immediate ReleaseJuly 20, 2010 Remarks by President Obama and PrimeMinister Cameron of the United Kingdom inJoint Press Availability East Room 1:58 P.M. EDTPRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat. It is my great pleasureto welcome Prime Minister Cameron on his first visit to the White House as Prime Minister.We have just concluded some excellent discussions -- including whether the beers from ourhometowns that we exchanged are best served warm or cold. My understanding is, is that thePrime Minister enjoyed our 312 beer and we may send him some more. I thought the beer wegot was excellent -- but I did drink it cold. (Laughter.)Mr. Prime Minister, we can never say it enough. The United States and the United Kingdomenjoy a truly special relationship. We celebrate a common heritage. We cherish commonvalues. And we speak a common language  —  - most of the time. We honor the sacrifices of ourbrave men and women in uniform who have served together, bled together, and even lay at resttogether.Above all, our alliance thrives because it advances our common interests. Whether it’s preventing the spread of nuclear weapons or securing vulnerable nuclear materials, thwartingterrorist attacks, or confronting climate change, or promoting global economic growth anddevelopment, when the United States and the United Kingdom stand together, our people  —  - andpeople around the world -- are more secure and they are more prosperous.In short, the United States has no closer ally and no stronger partner than Great Britain. And Iappreciate the opportunity to renew our relationship with my partner, Prime Minister Cameron.In his campaign, David was known for his extensive town halls discussions with voters  —  - ―Cameron Direct.‖   And that’s the same spirit that we had here today.   I appreciate David’s steady leadership and his pragmatic approach. And just as he’s off to an energetic start at home,  I think we’ve had a brilliant start as partners who see eye -to-eye on virtually every challengebefore us.Great Britain is one of our largest trading partner s, and we’re committed to long -term sustainablegrowth that keeps the global economy growing and puts our people to work. I told David thatmy administration is working hard with the Senate to move forward as soon as possible with ourdefense trade treaty with the U.K., which will be good for our workers and our troops in both ourcountries.We reaffirmed our commitment to fiscal responsibility and reform. David’s government ismaking some courageous decisions, and I’ve set a goal of cutting our deficit in half by 2013. Tomorrow, I’ll sign into law the toughest financial reforms since the aftermath of the Great Depression. And I commend David for his leadership in Europe to rebuild confidence in thefinancial sector. Together, we’re determined to make sure the financial catastrophe that we areemerging from never happens again.We discussed the Middle East, where both our governments are working to encourage Israelisand Palestinians to move to direct talks as soon as possible.We discussed the continui ng threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program. On this we are united: TheIranian government must fulfill its international obligations. The new sanctions imposed by theU.N. Security Council, the United States, and other countries are putting unprecedented pressureon the Iranian government. And I thanked David for Great Britain’s efforts to ensure strong European Union sanctions in the coming days.Along with our P5-plus-1 partners, we remain committed to a diplomatic solution. But theIranian government must understand that the path of defiance will only bring more pressure andmore isolation.Finally, much of our discussion focused on Afghanistan. After the United States, Great Britain isthe largest contributor of combat forces in Afghanistan, and British troops and civilians haveserved and sacrificed in some of the most dangerous parts of the country.This is not an easy fight. But it is a necessary one. Terrorists trained in Afghanistan and thetribal regions along the Pakistani border have killed innocent civilians in both of our countries.And an even wider insurgency in Afghanistan would mean an even larger safe haven for alQaeda and its terrorist affiliates to plan their next attack. And we are not going to let thathappen.We have the right strategy. We’re going to break the Taliban’s momentum.   We’re going to build Afghan capacity so Afghans can take responsibility for their future. And we’re going to deepen regional cooperation, including with Pakistan. Today’s historic Kabul Conference is another major step forward. The Afghan governmentpresented  —  - and its international partners unanimously endorsed  —  - concrete plans to implement President Karzai’s commitments to improve security, economic growth, governance,  and the delivery of basic services. The Afghan government presented its peace and reconciliationplan  —  - which the United States firmly supports. Agreement was reached on a plan in whichresponsibility for security in Afghan provinces will transition to Afghan security forces. Inaddition, Afghanistan and Pakistan reached a historic agreement to increase economicopportunity for people on both sides of the border.So these are all important achievements, and they go a long way toward helping create theconditions needed for Afghans to assume greater responsibility for their country. Indeed, overthe coming year, Afghans will begin to take the lead in security, and in July of next year willbegin to transfer -- we will begin the transfer some of our forces out of Afghanistan. And theKabul Conference shows that the Afghan -- that Afghanistan has the support of the internationalcommunity, including the United States, which will remain a long-term partner for the securityand progress of the Afghan people.As we go forward, we want to honor our fallen warriors with the respect and gratitude that theydeserve  —  - whether it’s here at Dover, or in the small British town of Wootton Bassett, where people line the streets in a solemn tribute that represents the best of the British character. Withpride in their service and determination to carry on their work for a safer world, I am confidentthat we can be worthy of their sacrifice. And I am confident that with my partner and friend,David Cameron, the special relationship between our countries will only grow stronger in theyears to come.Mr. Prime Minister.PRIMER MINISTER CAMERON: Well, first of all, can I thank you, Mr. President, forwelcoming me so warmly to the White House today. Thank you for the meeting, for the lunchthat we had, and also for the tour of part of your home. I have to say, I was most impressed by how tidy your children’s bedrooms were. (Laughter.) And I think if the President of the UnitedStates can get h is children to tidy their bedrooms, then the British Prime Minister, it’s about time --PRESIDENT OBAMA: You can do it.PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: -- he did exactly the same thing. (Laughter.)PRESIDENT OBAMA: You have to give them some notice, that’s th e only thing. (Laughter.)PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: Right. Well, they’ve got notice --PRESIDENT OBAMA: Tell them the Prime Minister is coming. (Laughter.)PRIME MINISTER CAMERON: They should be in bed by now, but if they’re not they have notice. (Laughter.)I think we did have a very valuable opportunity today to discuss in real depth a strong and ashared agenda on Afghanistan, on global economic recovery, and on the Middle East. And this  relationship isn’t just, as you put it, an extraordinary spe cial relationship. To me, it is also anabsolutely essential relationship if we are going to deliver the security and the prosperity that ourpeople need. And I thought again today in our discussions just how closely aligned our interestsare on all of the issues that we discussed.First, on Afghanistan, there is no clearer, no more tangible illustration of Britain and Americastanding shoulder to shoulder in our national interest than this mission that we are engaged intogether. We have British troops working to an American commander in Helmand, and we haveAmerican troops working to a British commander in Kandahar.Today, President Obama and I took stock of progress in this vital year. We reaffirmed ourcommitment to the overall strategy. A key part of that is training the Afghan national army andpolice so they can provide security for their country and our troops can come home.We also agreed on the need to reinvigorate the political strategy for Afghanistan. Insurgenciestend not to be defeated by military means alone. There must also be political settlement. And tothose people currently fighting, if they give up violence, if they cut themselves off from alQaeda, if they accept the basic tenets of the Afghan constitution, they can have a future in apeaceful Afghanistan.There is real progress. Last weekend, the first Afghan-led military operation took placesuccessfully in Helmand, Afghans defending themselves. And today, as Barack has just said, forthe first time in decades, the government of Afghanistan has hosted an international conferenceon its own soil. Over 40 foreign ministers and 80 delegations assembled in Kabul to monitorprogress and drive forward the international strategy. That is a real achievement, and we shouldcongratulate President Karzai on it.President Obama and I also discussed the economy. We're both taking action that our countriesneed. Our destination is a strong and stable growth, a sustained economic recovery, and areformed financial system that will never again be open to the abuses of the past. We areconfident that the right steps were taken at the Toronto G20 summit to help achieve that.The Middle East was the third area that we focused on today. We both want a secure, peacefuland stable Middle East. And that means two things: First, as Barack has just said, Iran mustgive up its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. We urge the Iranian regime to resume negotiations withthe international community without delay. It’s not too late for it to do so. America and Britain,with our partners, stand ready to negotiate, and to do so in good faith. But in the absence of awilling partner, we will implement with vigor the sanctions package agreed by the UnitedNations Security Council, and in Europe we will be taking further steps as well.Second, we desperately need a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians thatprovides security, justice and hope. As we were discussing over lunch, it is time for direct talks,not least because it is time for each, Israel and Palestine, to test the seriousness of the other.On BP, which we discussed at some length, I completely understand the anger that exists rightacross America. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a catastrophe -- for the environment, for
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