Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Leak 'won't hit US-UK relationship'

Nick Clegg assured the US that the country's 'unique relationship' with the UK will not be harmed by WikiLeaks

Britain has assured the US that the leak of 250,000 secret documents to whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks will not affect the "uniquely strong relationship" between the countries.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg gave the assurance to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the pair met at a summit of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Kazakhstan.

The disclosure of the US State Department documents has caused embarrassment in both London and Washington, exposing candid - and sometimes unflattering - assessments of British politicians passed on by US diplomats.

A new tranche of documents reveals that the US embassy reported back to Washington on the governor of the Bank of England's pre-election concerns about David Cameron and George Osborne's lack of experience and on Tory insiders' fear that the then-shadow chancellor was seen as "lightweight".

The cables also revealed that a Liberal Democrat plan to attack Mr Cameron as "fake" and "out of touch" during the election campaign was dropped after the death of his child Ivan.

Following his discussion with Mrs Clinton in the Kazakh capital Astana, Mr Clegg said: "We discussed a wide range of issues, including Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Middle East peace process and Sudan.

"I made clear to Secretary Clinton that recent Wikileaks disclosures would not affect our uniquely strong relationship. UK-US co-operation will continue with the same depth and closeness as before.

"I also took the opportunity to raise the case of Shaker Aamer, the last remaining British resident detained in Guantanamo Bay. I stressed the importance to the UK of early movement on his case."

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