Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 18 January 2015





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Government Gazette

Cameron and Obama vow to tackle ‘fanatical’ Islamists

David Cameron and Barack Obama detailed fresh measures to combat Islamist extremism at home and abroad as they declared their joint determination to confront violent extremism.

Following talks at the White House, the leaders set out moves to tackle the growth of hardline ideology in Britain and the United States and to intensify the action against Islamic State forces in Iraq.

Although the agenda - international terrorism and the world economy - was serious and weighty, Prime Minister Cameron's team will be delighted at the warm personal tribute the President Obama paid him.

He said: “Put simply David is a great friend. He is one of my closest and most trusted partners in the world.”

The President also said the British and American economies were growing strongly “so we must be doing something right”.

The reverberations from the Paris atrocities, as well as counter-terrorist operations in Belgium and the United States, dominated Cameron's flying visit to Washington.

The PM said: “The world is sickened by this terrorism. So we will not be standing alone in this fight. We know what we are up against and we know how we will win.

“We face a poisonous and fanatical ideology that wants to pervert one of the world’s major religions, Islam, and create conflict, terror and death. “With our allies we will confront it wherever it appears.” Obama said the ideology of violent extremism “had metasticised and it's widespread and it has entered communities around the world.”

But he added: “I don't consider it an existential threat ... We are representing the values of the vast majority of Muslims.”

British and American officials are to work on fresh plans, to be drawn up within six months, for combating the spread of violent ideology on either side of the Atlantic.

It will focus on ways on working with Muslim communities to challenge extremist thought and designing deradicalisation programs, as well as action against jihadists returning from fighting abroad. Detailed ideas will be initially discussed in a US-hosted counterterrorism summit next month.

The UK will step up operations against IS forces in Iraq, which the Government says it beginning to bear fruit.

Extra drones are to be deployed in Iraqi airspace to gather information about the movement of IS forces, while British experts are being sent to Iraq to advise local forces on dealing with explosive devices.

But there was a note of difference between the leaders as Obama warned of the dangers of overreacting to the Paris killings.

Cameron has called for fresh powers for the intelligence services in the wake of the attacks.

President Obama said: “We shouldn't feel as if because we've just seen such a horrific attack in Paris that suddenly everything should be done by the wayside,” the president said.

“We've got to make sure that we don't overreact, but that we remain vigilant and are serious about our responsibilities.”

During the talks, the two leaders agreed there should be no easing of sanctions on Russia until it “ends its aggression” in Ukraine.

In an attempt to reassure NATO members in eastern Europe, Cameron announced an extra 1,000 British troops will take part in exercises in the region, taking the total deployment to more than 3,200.

They will take place in Poland, the Baltic States, Bulgaria and Germany. Cameron was due to return to Britain from his final scheduled trip to the US capital before the general election in May.

The closeness of the leaders’ relationship was underlined by the disclosure that Cameron's had lobbied senators opposing the President's strategy on Iran.

They are calling for tougher sanctions to persuade it to abandon its nuclear program, but the leaders believe the current strategy should continue for the moment.

- The Independent


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