Washington — The United States and Britain reaffirmed a commitment to global development in helping to eradicate an array of economic, health and food problems, President Obama says.
British Prime Minister David Cameron met with Obama in the Oval Office at the White House May 13 to discuss trade and economic cooperation, Syria, countering terrorism and priorities for the upcoming Group of Eight (G8) Summit in Northern Ireland, which Cameron will host.
On global development, Obama told journalists at a morning press briefing that he and Cameron were encouraged by the ambitious reforms underway at the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, where both nations have been stepping up efforts. Obama also said that Cameron will make nutrition and food security significant topics for the June G8 Summit.
Obama thanked Cameron for his leadership, partnership and support going into the annual meeting of the world's largest and most advanced economies.
Britain holds the G8 presidency in 2013, and Cameron will lead the meeting to be held June 17-18 in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. A significant portion of his Oval Office meeting with Obama was to review the summit agenda.
"I appreciate [Cameron's] updating me on the agenda as it takes shape, and we discussed how the summit will be another opportunity to sustain the global economic recovery with a focus on growth and creating jobs for our people," Obama said during a White House press conference.
The G8, which is a forum for the world's eight wealthiest nations, includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Cameron told reporters that open trade will be at the heart of the agenda for ambitious action for economic growth during the G8, but also greater openness for advanced and developing economies. He also said that as nations open up their economies to get business growing, there is an equal need for corporations to pay taxes properly and enable citizens to hold their governments and businesses to account.
"We need to know who really owns a company, who profits from it, whether taxes are paid," Cameron said. "And we need a new mechanism to track where multinationals make their money and where they pay their taxes so we can stop those that are manipulating the system unfairly."
Cameron said that he and Obama have championed the development of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union. He said there's a real chance now for progress to launch the agreement in time for the G8 in the next five weeks.
Obama said that trade with Britain is central to the United States' broader trans-Atlantic economic relationship, which supports more than 13 million jobs.
On Afghanistan, Obama said he and Cameron reviewed progress in shifting the security lead to the Afghan National Army.
"As planned, Afghan forces will take the lead for security across the country soon this spring. U.S., British and coalition forces will move into a support role, our troops will continue to come home, and the war will end by the end of next year, even as we work with our Afghan partners to make sure that Afghanistan is never again a haven for terrorists who would attack our nations," Obama said.
The two leaders also discussed the civil crisis in Syria and "the appalling violence being inflicted on the Syrian people."
"Together, we're going to continue our efforts to increase pressure on the Assad regime, to provide humanitarian aid to the long-suffering Syrian people, to strengthen the moderate opposition and to prepare for a democratic Syria without [Syrian President] Bashar Assad," Obama told reporters.