Libya tops agenda as Obama plans to outline vision for Middle East

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David Cameron will today urge Barack Obama to back a concerted attempt to end the stalemate in Libya over the next few weeks.

During talks in Downing Street, the Prime Minister and US President are expected to agree to press other Nato countries to shoulder more of the burden of the military effort to drive Muammar Gaddafi from power.

Mr Obama wants Britain and France to remain in the lead. But British ministers denied that Mr Cameron would demand that America do more towards the air campaign.

"It's a myth that the US is doing nothing," one British source said. "This is about ensuring that we don't lose momentum in Libya." While any differences over America's role are likely to be kept private, Libya is expected to top the agenda in today's bilateral talks.

Mr Cameron and Mr Obama will then be joined by their security advisers to discuss plans for closer co-operation through a joint national security taskforce. Later, Mr Obama will address MPs and peers in Parliament's Westminster Hall.

Also on the leaders' agenda will be the Arab Spring, Afghanistan and Pakistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden; the deadlocked Middle East peace process; and the global economy.

Meanwhile, Mr Obama will use a speech today to both Houses of Parliament to suggest that the West is turning a corner towards a new international order of stable growth and democratic reform. Mr Obama will outline his most upbeat vision yet for the Middle East, Afghanistan and the world economy and attempt to draw a line under a "decade of war and sacrifice". He will suggest that Britain and the US should be seen as beacons for struggling democracy movements from Libya to Yemen and insist that Colonel Gaddafi's days are numbered.

"We've come through a difficult decade but in some respects we're turning a corner," a senior White House official said last night in a preview of Mr Obama's first speech on foreign soil since the death of Osama bin Laden.

Libya will also be high on the agenda at the G8 summit starting tomorrow in the French resort of Deauville. Concern over the apparent impasse surfaced in the Commons yesterday after it emerged that Britain is ready to deploy helicopter gunships to Libya.

Nick Harvey, the Armed Forces minister, denied accusations of "mission creep" with British and French forces widening their military effort. He disclosed that the Government is considering paying an "operational allowance" to servicemen and women involved in Libyan missions – a sign that ministers could be preparing for a lengthy commitment.

Last night Mr Obama discussed the economy, Libya, Afghanistan and climate change with Ed Miliband.

Police crack down on dissenters

A British academic was paid a visit by three plainclothes police officers at his home yesterday morning, because three weeks ago he had posted a letter of complaint on the White House's website about President Barack Obama's state visit.

Gordon McIntosh, 44, a psychology lecturer from north London, was woken up at 3am by anti-terrorist officers ringing his doorbell.

He was questioned for 20 minutes about a comment he left on the White House's homepage expressing disdain for Mr Obama's planned visit to the UK.

Mr McIntosh, who has a history in the protest movement, said his message was a "non-threatening" expression of his discomfort at the cost and nature of the President's state visit.

"I was flabbergasted and furious when they started asking me questions. I had written that people would be demonstrating at the visit, but I hadn't broken any laws; I had just sent an email."

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "I can confirm police visited a man at his home address after a number of emails he sent threatened to disrupt the US President's state visit."

No further action has been taken against Mr McIntosh.

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said yesterday that the policing operation for President Obama's visit will involve the equivalent of 5,000 officers working full days.

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