British Prime Minister David Cameron offered Thursday to help deal with BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, saying he would take it up with President Barack Obama.
Cameron’s comments in Kabul marked the first time he had spoken publicly about the crisis. Cameron, who took office in May and is under pressure domestically to stand up for the British energy company, is due to talk to Obama by telephone this weekend.
Obama has been sharply critical of BP. The two leaders’ conversation will have to seek a delicate balance between domestic pressures and long-standing U.S.-British ties.
In Britain, business leaders urged the government to defend BP — the biggest single payer of dividends among U.K.-listed companies — against U.S. threats to expand the company’s liabilities for the spill. Some U.S. lawmakers have also demanded it suspend payment of its quarterly dividend.
As BP captured more oil from its ruptured deep-sea well, it pleaded for patience from Americans frustrated about the spill, the worst in U.S. history.
The Obama administration kept up the heat, saying it would make sure BP paid all damages and cleanup costs from the spill.