US President Barack Obama held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday, grappling with the turmoil across the Arab world and the NATO effort to dislodge Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.
Obama, on the third day of a European tour, swapped the glitter of a royal state banquet and the tradition-soaked ritual of a British visit for testing diplomatic questions facing the transatlantic alliance.
The president and prime minister held 90 minutes of talks at Downing Street before dropping by a barbecue hosted by their wives in honor of military veterans, in a nod to the two nations’ decade of -common war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
They also had a press conference on their schedule, and then Obama was set to deliver what aides have described as the anchor speech of his tour of Ireland, Britain, France and Poland, on renewing ties with Europe.
The talks come as European powers like France and Britain step up the pace of attacks on Libya, in which Washington is playing a support role, as the White House and Downing Street insist the effort has not hit a stalemate.
“We believe that the trends show that time is very much working against Qaddafi,” said Ben Rhodes, a US deputy national security advisor.