David Cameron to visit Washington for Obama talks

David Cameron will hold talks with Barack Obama over two days in Washington later this week as the US president gives the prime minister a helpful pre-election White House photo opportunity, it has been confirmed.

The president will host a working dinner for the British PM at the White House on Thursday night to be followed by talks in the Oval Office on Friday.

The White House said their discussions would cover issues including the threat from Islamist extremists, the Russian invasion of Crimea and its incursion into the east of Ukraine. Economic growth and international trade will also be on the agenda.

A statement from the White House, reported by the Associated Press, said: “Potus looks forward to beginning the new year by working with David Cameron and reaffirming enduring special relationship between the US and UK.”

Downing Street is making little secret of the fact that the White House trip, the prime minister’s last bilateral visit overseas before the election, will provide helpful pictures before the election. But officials say that important subjects, particularly in light of the Paris attacks, will be discussed.

Obama and Cameron have formed a close partnership despite their different backgrounds and their contrasting political outlooks. The president made a point of according the prime minister the red carpet treatment in a state visit in all but name to the White House in March 2012. There were also benefits in the trip for Obama, who was able to show Republican voters before the presidential election later that year that he was close to a centre-right leader.

The Sunday Times reported that Cameron and Obama would discuss plans to allow Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping centre to work more closely with the US National Security Agency on tackling cyber attacks. Obama blamed North Korea for the cyber attack on Sony in retaliation for making the political satire film, The Interview, about a plan to assassinate the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Nicholas Watt, for The Guardian on Sunday 11th January 2015 16.29 Europe/London

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