President Obama and Prime Minister Brown spoke on the phone for about 40 minutes this afternoon. Their talk encompassed a variety of topics including Afghanistan, the upcoming G20 summit in Pittsburgh and the recent release of Pan Am Bomber al-Megrahi.
Although a Downing Street spokesman called the conversation "warm and substantive", the White House readout also mentioned that President Obama had "expressed his disappointment" over the Scottish Executive’s decision to release convicted Pan Am 103 Bomber al-Megrahi back to Libya. This was first conversation the two leaders have had since al-Megrahi's release. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs did not reveal anymore about this portion of the conversation during today's briefing with reporters, except to say that President Obama thought the release was a "mistake" and "continues to think this is a mistake." Although Mr. Gibbs would not comment on Prime Minister Brown's reaction to President Obama's mention of "disappointment" over the issue, he did say the President was satisfied with the response from Brown, while restating his opposition to the decision made.
Here is the White House readout from today's phone call:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2009
Readout of the President’s call with UK Prime Minister Brown
The President and Prime Minister Brown had a productive call earlier today on several issues on our shared strategic agenda. The two leaders discussed preparations for the upcoming G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, including the issues of growth and jobs. They discussed ways to reform international institutions to provide key international players a greater role. They also discussed their shared commitment to disrupting, dismantling, and defeating Al Qaeda and their extremist allies in Afghanistan, and their resolve to work together to implement our agreed strategy, which includes building Afghan institutions to help Afghans bear more of the responsibility. The President expressed his deep appreciation for the sacrifices of the British military and people in this difficult summer period, noting that the American people also honor this sacrifice.
The President expressed his disappointment over the Scottish Executive’s decision to release convicted Pan Am 103 Bomber al-Megrahi back to Libya. They also discussed preparations for the December meeting on climate change in Copenhagen, and ways to make steady progress to ensure that both developed and developing countries fulfill their responsibility to combat climate change