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[HD] Obama Toasts the Queen with PM David Cameron

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Published on Mar 14, 2012

Obama Toasts the Queen with PM David Cameron

US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron presented a unified front on Wednesday, seeking to ratchet up pressure on Iran and Syria and stay the course in Afghanistan even as they papered over differences on economic strategies.

Amid the pomp and ceremony of a state visit, Obama and Cameron called each other by their first names and stressed solidarity in the face of global security challenges that have tested the much-vaunted alliance between their two countries.

Cameron is on a three-day US trip, eager to dispel any concerns in Britain that its treasured "special relationship" with the United States has dimmed in recent years as Obama has pivoted US foreign policy towards Asia's dynamic economies.

At a state dinner where guests dined on bison and White House-grown baby kale, the British prime minister praised Obama in a toast that came close to an endorsement of the Democrat in this year's presidential election.

"You don't get to choose the leaders that you have to work with, but all I can say is that it is a pleasure to work with someone with moral strength, with clear reason, and with fundamental decency," Cameron said.

The leaders used a joint news conference to try to turn up the heat on Iran over its nuclear program and warn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of the consequences, including possible war-crimes prosecution, if he continued a bloody crackdown on his opponents.

Their White House talks also focused on the war in Afghanistan, with both resisting calls for a rush to the exit after the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier.

Polls show increasing US and British public discontent with the war and Obama's Republican foes see his Afghan policy as a point of vulnerability in his 2012 re-election bid.

Obama and Cameron made clear that for now they want to stick to a NATO strategy that calls for a transition to Afghan security responsibility in 2013 and withdrawal of combat troops by the end of 2014. A NATO summit in Chicago in May will consider further details.

"In terms of pace, I don't anticipate at this stage that we're going to be making any sudden additional changes to the plan that we currently have," Obama said.

Obama Toasts the Queen with PM David Cameron
Obama Toasts the Queen with PM David Cameron
Obama Toasts the Queen with PM David Cameron
Obama Toasts the Queen with PM David Cameron

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