Hague hails the 'special relationship'

Foreign Secretary William Hague has underlined the strength of Britain's "special relationship" with the United States, saying the two countries were "as closely aligned as they have ever been".

Speaking ahead of Barack Obama's state visit to Britain this week, Mr Hague suggested that the US president had come to appreciate the importance of the alliance during his time in office.

"I don't think we should fret in this country about the special relationship. We always have this in our media, a bit of agonising whenever the president of the United States comes here - is it still a special relationship? It is," he said.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It is very special. I think the longer a US administration is in power, the more they appreciate that."

When he first entered the White House, it was thought that Mr Obama would look more to Germany as the leading power in Europe, but Mr Hague said that the US-UK axis remained as important as ever. "You can see that in government. The co-operation that I see every day in intelligence matters is without parallel in the world. So is our nuclear co-operation. Our armed forces are working together with intimate closeness," he said.

Mr Hague warmly welcomed Mr Obama's call for a Middle East peace settlement based on pre-1967 borders - a move which infuriated Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"It means that the policy of all the European nations and the United States on this is the same," he said.