20 Jul 2010

Dave’s Twenty First Century City gift

The talks were dominated by Afghanistan, the draw-down, the remainder of the surge, the governance issues. The last of these featured very high in the chat.

In Kabul President Karzai was pretty brief in his words about how to reconcile the Taliban and that’s because there is much still to be agreed.

David Cameron couldn’t leave without some sort of gesture to the anti-BP anger so he agreed to ask Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell to see if there were more documents that might helpfully be released on the Prisoner Transfer Agreement history.

He’s been trying to walk a tricky line between defending the company on the narrow issue of involvement in the actual al-Megrahi compassionate release – without getting sucked into whether BP were behaving attractively in pushing for the PTA changes that Libya hoped would spring him soon by another route.

Iran also featured prominently in the talks – Europe is edging towards tougher sanctions and the US is pleased and looking forward to seeing them passed.

The Camerons’ gift to the Obamas is a painting by one of Samantha Cameron’s favourite artists, Ben Eine.

You can see it here on the right.

But David Cameron started the day with a Wall Street Journal article that sounded very much like a reproach to trivia-obsessed British press folk on overseas trips so, in the words of Zac Goldsmith, I’d better “watch it.”

Tweets by @garygibbonblog

6 reader comments

  1. helen says:

    The people of Scotland are hardly going to interpret Mr Cameron’s remarks in the U.S.A. as a mark of “respect” for the country and its people. He may well domore for the cause of Independence than even Maggie Thatcher managed!
    Since it seems he has no hesitation in publicly criicising other elected governments, perhaps he will publicly criticise the U.S. A for its support of Israel’s defiance of U.N. resolutions.

    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      In case anyone’s misunderstood, the overwhelming majority of Scots were disturbed that a proven mass-murderer was so casually freed.
      Yes, that appalling decision has worried Scots about the integrity of Holyrood. Maybe the idea was to stir up hostile discourses with our neighbours – who knows?
      Now we learn that the Chief Minister has written to US Senators to confirm it was Scotland that chose to send the mass murderer home. Nobody knows what that’ll do to our reputation.

  2. Ray Turner says:

    I don’t think it is possible to reconcile the Taliban. Politicians haven’t cottoned on to that yet. They’re wasting their time and our money at the expense of our soldiers lives.

    Given a chance, the Taliban would have Britain and America under Sharia law and all of our wives wearing burkahs…

    Fortress Britain is the only practical solution.

  3. Saltaire Sam says:

    TEYTTYY indeed. The CIA has probably cracked the code by now and locked up a few dozen people without trial.

    On the other hand we know from yesteday’s evidence that no matter what the spies think, if politicians have set their heart on something, it’s going to happen.

    Ah, dear Zak with his school-yard bully ‘watch it’ What a sweet lad. Clearly born to run the country if only the peasants would stop snooping around and shoving their nose where it doesn’t belong

  4. Kate says:

    You have got to wonder at the sheer hypocrisy of America banging on and on about the release of
    al-Megrahi when they have yet even to admit to the killing of close on 300 people on the Iran Airbus back in the late 80’s.

    As Ray Turner said above, I don’t think it’s possible either to reconcile the Taliban. It’s naive even to assume they will talk to the West. Why should they?

    And yes! My heart too goes out to Zac. First,that nasty man on Ch4 News refusing to apologise and now this investigation – how dare they? Don’t they know who he is? :)

  5. Andrew Dundas says:

    Afghanistan should be worried by the speculations: that Helmand might be abandoned to the Taliban.
    It’s no good making the rest of Afghanistan into some sort of ‘Alamo’ for the last stand. What about our afghan supporters we’d be leaving behind and to the tender mercies of the Taliban? The lucky ones will be those who just get a bullet in the back of the head. Gruesome pictures will go via the Internet to the Muslim world as warnings to others not to support western interests – where’s the gain in that?
    We’ve promised these people that they can rely on our continuing support. We must keep those promises, despite Cameron’s cold feet.

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