G8 – was Obama really there?
David Cameron told the Commons what a success the G8 summit had been in County Fermanagh, but Team Cameron’s debrief to colleagues back in No.10 struck a slightly different note. I understand David Cameron found President Obama strangely detached in the meetings. The US president’s contributions were pretty minimal, one source tells me. David Cameron, my source says, wondered if President Obama was really in the room…
And as if that wasn’t puzzling or perturbing enough, the PM clearly thought it was pretty odd for the US administration to announce the blockbuster news of talks opening with the Taliban just as he was striding to the podium for the grand moment of his G8 host’s closing press conference. It was pretty odd behaviour for a G8 participant to upstage the grand finale. It’s not hard to imagine the US wouldn’t much enjoy it being done to them in a spotlight moment.
On the positive side, there are still mutterings that David Cameron thinks Vladimir Putin might be on a journey to detach himself from personal support for President Assad if he can be convinced that the successor regime will be friendly to him and protective of his interests in Syria. On one reading, the summit communique that Mr Putin signed up to is a signal to senior figures in the Assad regime that they can move on Assad, in the security that they might keep their own jobs. Senior military and government figures will probably want more direct reassurances before contemplating making a move on the regime chief.
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