U.S. President Barack Obama will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron at the White House on Monday to discuss Syria and the G8 summit next month in Northern Ireland, officials said.
“The prime minister’s visit underscores the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom that has been crucial in advancing our shared security and prosperity,” a White House statement said.
The statement said that in addition to Syria and the G8, the talks would include discussion on trade and economic cooperation and counterterrorism measures.
The Cameron visit will take place as Washington seeks to build momentum behind a new diplomatic effort to broker a transition of power in Syria, in a joint effort with Russia, one of President Bashar al-Assad’s strongest backers.
After a visit by Secretary of State John Kerry to Moscow this week, the two sides said they hoped to hold an international conference by the end of May to build support for a peaceful solution in Syria.
Cameron will meet with Obama after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday to discuss what he called the “urgent need” for a political transition to end a civil war that has already killed more than 70,000 people.
The British prime minister, who spoke with Kerry about the Syrian crisis earlier, pointed to a “growing body of limited but persuasive information showing that the regime has used and continues to use chemical weapons including sarin.”
“The room for doubt about this continues to diminish,” he added.
Syria is expected to be a central issue at the Group of Eight summit of the world’s wealthiest industrialized nations.
Cameron’s trip to Washington will be his first visit to the White House of Obama’s second term and come ahead of the U.S. president’s trip to Northern Ireland for the G8 summit in June.
It also follows a lavish welcome he got in the United States in March 2012, when he enjoyed a trip aboard Air Force One, watched a college basketball game with Obama and was guest of honor at a glittering White House dinner.
On that occasion, Cameron attracted some criticism from media commentators back home after delivering what sounded like a political endorsement in an election year as Obama geared up for a clash with Republican Mitt Romney.
Obama and Cameron conspicuously also used a joint press conference to try to convince war-weary American and British voters that sacrifices in Afghanistan had wrought “real progress” toward a future secure state.