Washington, Jan 16: British Prime Minister David Cameron has arrived in the city to hold talks with US President Barack Obama on a wide range of issues including counter-terrorism, joint campaign against IS and cyber- securities. The two leaders had a private dinner at the White House after Cameron arrived here on Thursday.
Substantive discussions are scheduled to take place today after which the two leaders would address a joint press conference.
"The United States has a special relationship with the United Kingdom and the President is looking forward to welcoming the Prime Minister to the White House on Thursday evening," White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday.
Ahead of the arrival, Earnest said, Obama is looking forward to discussing with them a wide range of issues, some of them related to national security.
"I'm confident that the close counter-terrorism partnership that we have with the United Kingdom will be discussed. They will discuss the ongoing campaign against ISIL," he said. "The British military has made significant commitments to that effort. We're deeply appreciative of them. I'm confident that the two leaders will have an opportunity to discuss that," he said, adding, they will also be discussing economic issues as well.
"We certainly anticipate that the two leaders will be discussing cyber-security during the visit. The United States works very closely with the British on a whole range of counter-terrorism measures, including cyber threat and cyber-security policies," Earnest told reporters.
"We work closely with them to share information and to monitor the efforts of others from around the world to use the Internet to carry out acts of terror or to launch cyber- attacks against public or private entities in this country or in the United Kingdom. There is a strong partnership that we have with them as we confront these very complicated issues," he said.
"I think that our British counterparts would agree that it is imperative that we properly balance the need for government intelligence agencies and national security agencies to have access to certain kinds of information to try to protect their citizens. At the same time, it is critically important for the government to protect the privacy of their citizens.
"And trying to balance those two competing priorities is difficult, particularly in an age of innovative technology where the lines are shifting," he said. Ahead of their meeting, Obama and Cameron in a joint op-ed pledged to work together against terrorists.
"We will continue to stand together against those who threaten our values and our way of life. When the freedoms that we treasure came under a brutal attack in Paris, the world responded with one voice. Along with our French allies, we have made clear to those who think they can muzzle freedom of speech and expression with violence that our voices will only grow louder," the op-ed said.
"Whether we are facing lone fanatics or terrorist organisations such as al-Qaeda, Islamic State (ISIL) or Boko Haram we will not be cowed by extremists. We will defeat these barbaric killers and their distorted ideology, which tries to justify the murder of innocents, whether children attending school in Peshawar, or girls forced to become suicide bombers in northern Nigeria," it said.