Cameron snubbed as Republican house speaker refuses to discuss Ukraine aid package

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron speaks during a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department
Lord Cameron likened Ukraine's battle against Russia's invasion to the allies' D-Day landings to defeat the Nazis in 1944 - Kevin Wolf
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Lord Cameron has been snubbed by the most senior Republican in the US House of Representatives who is refusing to meet to discuss approving a new aid package for Ukraine.

The Foreign Secretary said last week he was going to meet Mike Johnson, the House speaker whose party is blocking the support, and urge a change during a trip to Washington DC.

But the attempts of UK officials to lock down the meeting have been rebuffed by Mr Johnson’s office. During his last Washington visit Lord Cameron’s tough calls for Ukraine aid to be approved frustrated some Republicans.

The two men are understood to be personally messaging each other and some in the UK delegation hope a conversation could yet be arranged, but on Tuesday none was confirmed.

Ukraine battle ‘like D-Day’

In a press conference alongside Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, Lord Cameron likened Ukraine’s battle against Russia’s invasion to the allies’ D-Day landings to defeat the Nazis in 1944.

On Israel-Gaza, the Foreign Secretary confirmed that arms will still be allowed to be sent to Israel, despite calls for a suspension from a string of political and former Whitehall figures.

Outlining the decision for the first time publicly, he said the stance was in line with government legal advice, but rejected calls to publish a summary of that advice.

Lord Cameron also said that a “Plan B” was needed should Israel launch a military offensive into Rafah, a southern city in Gaza where more than a million Palestinians are sheltering.

Netanyahu picked date for Rafah offensive

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week he has picked a date for the offensive, which the UK and US have been warning against publicly and privately for weeks.

In the press conference Lord Cameron also refused to offer many extra details about his surprise meeting with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, during his trip.

The Daily Telegraph understands that Lord Cameron used the meeting in Florida at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to stress how much the UK was spending on defence.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron holds a meeting with United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken on his visit to Washington
Foreign Secretary David Cameron with United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken on his visit to Washington - Ben Dance / FCDO

The UK and the EU have both recently approved new aid packages to Ukraine, but US president Joe Biden’s $95bn (£75bn) proposed bill which includes security assistance for Kyiv is being blocked in the House of Representatives, where the Republicans have a majority.

The Foreign Secretary stressed he had not come to Washington to “lecture” any US politicians on their own foreign policy, but said he could get “emotional” about Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion.

Lord Cameron said: “To me this is so fundamental to how Britain and America have worked together over years, over decades, to keep our world safe and to enhance our security.

“I think of my grandfather landing on the Normandy beaches under the cover of an American warship. I think of how I worked together with President Obama to deal with the Isil threat in Syria and Iraq. How we hunted down those terrible killers of British and American hostages in the Syrian desert. Jihadi John and his like.

“To me this is the same thing. We face a huge threat from an aggressive [Russian President Vladimir] Putin taking other countries’ territory by force and it is so important that we stick together.”

‘It’s not for us to tell you what to do’

On pressing views on congressmen, Lord Cameron said he felt “great trepidation” about doing so, saying “it’s not for foreign politicians to tell legislators in another country what to do”.

But he added: “I’m here to offer my opinion, to meet with anyone who wants to talk to me about it, to make those arguments.”

On continuing to allow arms sales to Israel, Lord Cameron said:  “This is consistent with the advice that I and other ministers have received, and as ever we will keep the position under review.”

But, he added, the UK continued to have “grave concerns” about humanitarian access to Gaza, saying Israeli promises to “flood Gaza with aid... now need to be turned into reality”.

On Rafah, he said: “We have a very clear plan A for how we bring this conflict to an end.

“We have a temporary pause, we turn that into a sustainable ceasefire, we see Hamas leaders removed from Gaza, we see the terrorist infrastructure taken down. That is the way to have a political process that brings the war to an end.

“But we have to be aware if that doesn’t work, we have to think about what is plan B, what can humanitarian and other organisations do to make sure that if there is a conflict in Rafah that people can achieve safety, they can get food, they can get water, they can get medicine, and people are kept safe.”

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