Obama, Cameron discuss British anti-terror arrests

21st December 2010, Comments 0 comments

US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke by telephone on Tuesday and discussed the arrests in Britain of 12 men accused of plotting an Al-Qaeda-inspired attack.

The two leaders also talked about Obama's review of Afghan war strategy released last week, and paid tribute to the "courage and professionalism" of US and British troops in the conflict, a White House statement said.

"The President and the Prime Minister also discussed our close ongoing counterterrorism cooperation in light of current threats and yesterday's arrests of terrorism suspects in the UK," the statement said.

The arrests of the men aged between 17 and 28 came amid heightened tensions following last week's Stockholm suicide bombing, which was conducted by a man who lived and was allegedly radicalized in Britain.

Obama and Cameron also agreed on the need to advance stalled moves to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians and wished one another happy holidays, the statement said.

The conversation came on a day when several US senators unveiled a report charging that previous British Labour Party governments had pressured Scottish authorities to release the Lockerbie bomber to protect commercial ties with Libya.

The report also said that Scotland's devolved government also relied on flawed medical evidence when it released cancer-stricken Libyan Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds.

The White House statement did not say whether the report was mentioned in Tuesday's telephone call.

Megrahi, released last year, is the only person ever convicted over the 1988 attack in which 270 people, most of them Americans, perished when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

There was no immediate comment from the White House on the report. The United States reacted with fury when Megrahi was released, on the grounds he was suffering from terminal cancer, last year.

Cameron, a Conservative, has condemned the release of Megrahi, who is still alive, by the previous British government, but rebuffed calls for a government inquiry.

© 2010 AFP

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