James Forsyth

Cameron’s call to the White House

Cameron's call to the White House
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David Cameron’s statement on Libya today reflected his growing frustration at the pace at which the wheels of diplomacy are moving on this issue. In his statement, Cameron warned that ‘time is of essence’ and that Gaddafi staying in power, something Cameron had previously called ‘unthinkable’, would send a ‘dreadful signal’.

Time, really, is of the essence. If we don’t see movement in the next few days, it seems almost inevitable that Gaddafi will crush the revolt.

One of the things that Cameron stressed is that Gaddafi continuing in power would be more than a moral and humanitarian disaster. As he warned, ‘a pariah state on Europe’s southern border’ would have consequences both in terms of security and immigration.

This is the case that Cameron is going to use to try and move the Americans into a more proactive position. Cameron stressed that Nato is now conducting planning on a no-fly zone but it is a challenge to see how a no-fly zone could work without American involvement, whatever Sarkozy might think. The next few days will be a real test of how much influence this government can exert on the Obama adminsitration.