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UK’s Cameron meets Trump, urges US to maintain Ukraine assistance

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron meets with former US President Trump, plans to meet with congressional leaders, aiming to overcome Republican resistance and secure approval for a new aid package to support Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion.
David Cameron at a briefing in the US on 7 December 2023. Screenshot: Youtube video
UK’s Cameron meets Trump, urges US to maintain Ukraine assistance

On 9 April, The Guardian reported that UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has held talks with former US President Donald Trump in Florida in a bid to shore up support for Ukraine and advance a new aid package that is currently being stalled in the US Congress, “held up in Congress partly on Trump’s instruction.”

The US foreign aid package, including crucial military assistance for Ukraine, has been delayed since last fall by far-right Republicans in Congress. The Senate passed a $95 billion bill, with over $60 billion for Ukraine, but House Speaker Mike Johnson refused to bring it to a vote, citing the need not to rush.

The Guardian described David Cameron’s meeting at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort as potentially risky, given the two leaders’ poor relationship in the past, particularly over issues like Brexit. However, Cameron was hoping to persuade Trump to drop his opposition to the new Ukraine aid package.

The Telegraph says that during their meeting, they discussed Ukraine, the war in Gaza, and the future of NATO, following Lord Cameron’s public distancing from the former president’s comments on the alliance earlier this year. A government source informed The Telegraph that the Foreign Secretary aimed to emphasize the UK’s commitment to defense spending in a “productive meeting” that underscored the “breadth and strength” of the special relationship.

Cameron’s key goal in the US is reportedly to shift Republican thinking in Congress on the importance of Russia’s threat to American interests. According to his remarks before his trip to the US, he was going to argue that “success for Ukraine and failure for [Vladimir] Putin are vital for American and European security” and urge lawmakers to “change the narrative” on support for Kyiv.

The UK Foreign Office stated that it is “standard practice for ministers to meet opposition candidates as part of their routine international engagement.” This marks the first such meeting between a senior UK minister and Trump since the latter left office.

Trump has repeatedly voiced skepticism about providing aid to Ukraine and has questioned America’s commitment to NATO. His allies have suggested any potential peace deal he could negotiate would involve ceding Crimea and the Donbas region to Russia, effectively formalizing Putin’s land grab that began in 2014.

Cameron to meet Blinken, Sullivan, McConnel, hopes to meet Mike Johnson

Cameron is also scheduled to hold talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell during his Washington visit. He is not, however, expected to meet with President Joe Biden.

The UK Foreign Secretary hoped to meet House Speaker Mike Johnson, whose fellow House Republicans are blocking a vote on an additional $60 billion in aid for Ukraine. However, as of 9 April, no meeting with Johnson was scheduled, according to The Guardian.

The Foreign Secretary will advocate for providing Ukraine with the necessary resources to “go on the offensive” in 2025 and will urge Congressional leaders to approve the aid package that has been stalled in the US Congress for over six months. He will highlight that European nations have already committed over $184 billion to support Ukraine, including more than $15 billion from the UK.

Cameron’s visit comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Ukraine would lose the war if US aid was withheld and Ukrainian air cover not improved.

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