Obama, Cameron Pledge to ‘Turn Up the Heat’ on Gadhafi
Updated 12:15 p.m. ET
In a joint news conference Wednesday in London, President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron said they would maintain pressure on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to step down, despite an ongoing military stalemate between government forces and rebels on the ground and a more than two-month old NATO air campaign.
Mr. Cameron told reporters the allies would “turn up the heat” on Gadhafi, and Mr. Obama pointed to the “enormous progress” already demonstrated in the Libya campaign but cautioned that the process would not happen quickly, and urged a long-term view.
President Obama’s visit to the United Kingdom is the second in his week-long European trip. View his full itinerary and a map of his trip here. Both leaders used the visit to tout the strong relationship between the two longstanding allies, calling it an “essential relationship” and one that Mr. Cameron described as “a living, working partnership.”
President Obama also addressed Britain’s parliament at Westminster Hall Wednesday, where he said he had “known few greater honors” than speaking before the historic body.
The president said “our relationship is special because of the values and beliefs that have united our people through the ages,” invoking the Allied effort in World War II, the establishment of NATO, and more recently, cooperation on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Together we have met great challenges, but as we enter this new chapter in our shared history, profound challenges stretch out before us, ” Mr. Obama said, citing global economic recovery, the transition in Afghanistan, revolutions in the Arab world and the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons and terrorism.
President Obama praised recent NATO efforts in Afghanistan and Libya, calling the establishment of the alliance a “British idea.”
Today, “we confront a different enemy. Terrorists have taken the lives of our citizens in New York and London,” he said.
Through the work of “heroes,” the president said “we’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum” and “built the capacity of Afghan security forces.”
Building on his earlier joint news conference with Cameron, where both leaders vowed to continue to pressure leader Moammar Gadhafi, Mr. Obama said “we stopped a massacre in Libya and we will not relent until the people of Libya are protected and the shadow of tyranny is lifted.”
Following on the heels of his major policy speech on the Arab world, the president urged patience in fostering the growth of democracy in the Arab Spring: “While these movements for change are just six months old, we have seen them play out before from Eastern Europe to the Americas, from south Africa to southeast Asia. History tells us that democracy is not easy, it will be years before these revolutions reach their conclusions.”
For more analysis and reaction to President Obama’s visit, we put together a reading list of reporting and resources from both sides of the pond:
- The Guardian looks at how the leaders handled a question from a British reporter as to whether their relationship echoes that of President George W. Bush and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The two leaders both stressed that theirs was not a re-run of the Bush/Blair relationship. When it was put to them that their alliance was similar to the one between George Bush and Tony Blair, Cameron said that in their approach to North Africa they had “ruled out occuping forces and invading armies”. Obama also said they were using military power “in a strategically careful way”.
- The BBC has a photo gallery of the second day of the visit, and North America editor Mark Mardell has a preview of Mr. Obama’s speech to parliament:
But he won’t want to come over as too worthy. This is the president of hope and change. He left Ireland in a haze of goodwill because he made them feel better about themselves and their prospects.
He’ll want to be similarly upbeat in London. He’ll say it has been a tough 10 years, but the future is brighter.
- The New York Times‘ write-up looks at policy questions about Libya, as well as the war in Afghanistan:
Speaking with American reporters on Monday, Mr. Cameron insisted there were no substantive disagreements between him and Mr. Obama on Libya, the Middle East or Afghanistan.
Yet experts said the British had been dismayed at what they saw as America’s reluctance to commit itself fully to toppling Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Some feel the United States mishandled its decision to withdraw planes from front-line missions early last month.
- Though much of the attention during their meetings has been focused on Libya, Foreign Policy‘s Turtle Bay blog looks ahead to the G8 summit and the two countries’ joint push for a U.N. Security Council resolution to condemn Syria’s crackdown on protesters — and the expected pushback from Russia:
After weeks of behind the scenes lobbying, Britain and France say they are confident that they have secured the minimum nine votes required for passage of the resolution in the 15-nation council. They are hoping to increase that number. But they said they intend to press for a vote later this week even if Russia threatens to block the vote.
- On a lighter note, The Washington Post’s Reliable Source blog looks at the gifts President Obama gave the Queen of England — and this time, that list did not include an iPod.
The two leaders also played ping-pong at the Globe School in London on the president’s first day in the country. See the video.
You can take a look back at the Prime Minister Cameron’s visit to Washington, D.C., last July. Read their full remarks here, which include the outlook on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the war in Afghanistan.