Cameron meets Trump, to urge US Congress to approve Ukraine military aid

Top British diplomat says success for Ukraine is vital for the security of the United States and Europe.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron hold a joint press conference [Michael A. McCoy/Reuters]

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron will urge the United States Congress to pass an aid package for Ukraine after he met Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

The meeting kicked off a visit by Cameron to the US during which he met Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on Tuesday.

Over dinner at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, the two men discussed “the upcoming US and UK elections, policy matters specific to Brexit, the need for NATO countries to meet their defense spending requirements, and ending the killing in Ukraine,” Trump’s campaign said in a statement.

Speaking at a press conference alongside Blinken in Washington, Cameron said the dinner was in line with past precedent of government ministers meeting with opposition politicians but declined to say what specifically they discussed.

“(We) discussed a range of important geopolitical subjects,” Cameron said.

Appeals for Ukraine funds

Blinken repeated long-standing appeals for lawmakers to unblock the assistance that President Joe Biden has sought for months, while Cameron said he would make the same case in meetings on Capitol Hill “as a great friend” of the United States.

“I come here with no intention to lecture anybody or tell anybody what to do or get in the way of the process of politics and other things in the United States,” he said.

“I just come here as a great friend and believer in this country and a believer that it’s profoundly in your interest, in your security, and your future and the future of your partners to release this money and let it through.”

“The supplemental budget request that President Biden has made of Congress is urgent and it’s imperative since the house is now back in session,” Blinken said. “We look to see that brought before the house and to get a vote as quickly as possible.”

Cameron said he would meet Speaker Mike Johnson, the top Republican in the US House of Representatives, and urge him to pass a $60bn package of military aid for Ukraine, which has been held up for months in the chamber.

“Success for Ukraine and failure for Putin are vital for American and European security,” Cameron said in a statement, saying it was important to demonstrate to Russian President Vladimir Putin that “aggression doesn’t pay”.

“The alternative would only encourage Putin in further attempts to redraw European borders by force, and would be heard clearly in Beijing, Tehran and North Korea,” added Cameron, who was British prime minister from 2010 to 2016.

He is scheduled to meet congressional leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned his country would lose its war against Russia if the US Congress does not approve the stalled package.

Britain has been a staunch ally of Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in 2022, but Cameron will stress it is the US that is the “key stone in the arch” because its pace and scale of support for Ukraine is unmatched.

Trump remains a highly influential figure in the Republican Party and could play a role in persuading hardliners in the Republic-controlled House to unblock the assistance package for Ukraine.

During the trip, Cameron will also emphasise the importance of increasing economic pressure on Russia and giving Ukraine “the military and humanitarian support it needs to hold the line this year and go on the offensive in 2025”, the Foreign Office added.

More than $184bn has already been committed to Ukraine by European nations, including more than $15bn from the United Kingdom.

UK position on arms sales to Israel ‘unchanged’

Cameron is also expected to discuss maritime routes for aid into Gaza amid Israel’s war on the Palestinian territory and push for a full and transparent investigation into the “completely unacceptable” deaths there of seven aid workers, including three Britons, from the US-based food charity World Central Kitchen.

Since the deadly strike last week, the UK government has faced calls to suspend arms exports to Israel.

But Cameron said on Tuesday that Britain’s position on arms sales to Israel remained unchanged after the latest assessment of the government’s legal advice.

“The latest assessment leaves our position on export licences unchanged. This is consistent with the advice that I and other ministers have received,” Cameron said.

“And as ever, we will keep the position under review.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies