US and UK reaffirm "special" relationship

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US and UK reaffirm "special" relationship

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There are signs of a rapprochement in the so-called “special” relationship between the US and the UK.

Barack Obama was the first world leader to congratulate David Cameron on becoming the UK Prime Minister – and now the compliment has been returned.

Washington was the first overseas port of call for the new UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague.

Unsurprisingly, the war in Afghanistan and Iran’s nuclear ambitions were top of the agenda. At a joint press briefing with Hague, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:

“The Foreign Secretary and I had a lot to talk about today. We discussed our shared mission in Afghanistan and he reaffirmed his government’s commitment to working with the international community and the Afghans to achieve long-term stability there. The United States is deeply appreciative of the British contributions in Afghanistan.”

William Hague added:

“We discussed Iran, where we were of course agreed on the need to send a strong and united signal about Iran’s nuclear programme to secure the passage of a UN Security Council resolution and the United Kingdom will thereafter play a key role in ensuring that there is determined action by the European Union to follow up such a resolution.”

Hague promised a “solid but not slavish” relationship with the US.

This was widely seen as an effort to allay fears the UK will follow US policy tune with no independent strategy of its own, an accusation that was often made when Tony Blair was Prime Minister and George W. Bush was US President.