x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Cameron meets Wall Street CEOs and UN chief

The British prime minister presses the case for doing business in the UK and talks to Ban Ki-Moon about Afghanistan and peace in the Middle East.

NEW YORK // The British prime minister David Cameron has met with Wall Street CEOs to press the case for doing business in the United Kingdom and later had "a meeting of minds" with the UN secretary-general on global challenges ranging from Afghanistan to Middle East peace. On his first official visit to New York City, Mr Cameron also rubbed elbows with media and political elites at a welcome dinner hosted by the mayor Michael Bloomberg, who gave the prime minister a new iPad.

The closed meeting with Wall Street CEOs included top executives at JPMorgan Chase & Co, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley. The British consulate said the discussions focused on prospects for more trade and investment with the UK. Mr Cameron, who took office 10 weeks ago, went to UN headquarters in the early evening for his first meeting with the secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, who returned earlier in the day from Kabul, where he was co-chairman of an international conference on Afghanistan's future. At Tuesday's conference, foreign ministers and diplomats from the US and 60 other countries endorsed the president Hamid Karzai's plan for Afghan police and soldiers to take charge of security nationwide by 2014.

"We had a very successful conference in Kabul," Mr Ban told Mr Cameron as they posed for pictures before sitting down for talks that a British spokesman described as "a meeting of minds on the full range of current global challenges". The two leaders "agreed that the current strategy in Afghanistan was right, and that a political surge was an essential part of the next phase of the campaign," said the spokesman.

The British leader and the UN chief also urged Israel and the Palestinians to move from US-mediated indirect talks to direct peace talks and agreed on the need for "a concerted international effort to deliver a diplomatic solution on the Iran nuclear issue" and the "vital opportunity" at a UN summit in September "to get the world back on track" to meet UN goals to combat poverty, the spokesman said.

* AP