'Frustrated' British PM backs BP in talks with boss

11th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron threw his support behind a "financially strong" BP Friday in talks with its chairman, while voicing frustration over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, his office said.

Cameron, who is visiting Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates, had a "constructive" telephone conversation with Carl-Henric Svanberg, a Downing Street spokesman said.

"The prime minister explained that he was frustrated and concerned about the environmental damage caused by the leak but made clear his view that BP is an economically important company in the UK, US and other countries," he said.

Cameron said that "it is in everyone's interests that BP continues to be a financially strong and stable company."

US President Barack Obama has stepped up his criticism of BP over the oil spill, the biggest manmade environmental disaster in the United States, and has summoned Svanberg to meet with him in Washington next Wednesday.

Cameron will discuss the crisis with Obama in a telephone call Saturday.

"Mr. Svanberg made clear that BP will continue to do all that it can to stop the oil spill, clean up the damage and meet all legitimate claims for compensation," the Downing Street spokesman said.

"The prime minister said that he would raise the issue -- and discuss these points -- in his call with President Obama tomorrow."

Earlier, Svanberg met with Finance Minister George Osborne and other senior officials in Downing Street.

After the talks, he told ITN broadcaster: "I think we have done everything we can to try to fill the well, and we have said we would do everything expected from us in cleaning up the beach, taking care of all the claims and learn from this incident and make deepsea drilling an even safer place."

Asked about BP's plans to pay dividends and about Obama's criticism of the British oil giant, the chairman replied: "No comment."

© 2010 AFP

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