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On UK-EU shuffle, David Cameron claims Obama support

After a US senior diplomat says the White House hopes for strong UK-EU ties, the British prime minister tries on a different interpretation.

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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to entrepreneurs at The Media Factory in Preston, northern England, January 3, 2013.

Martin Rickett/REUTERS

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Britain on Friday sought to counter perceptions of discord with the United States over the European Union, saying US President Barack Obama had told Prime Minister David Cameron that he supported his drive to renegotiate Britain's EU membership.

Relations between the two close allies came under the spotlight earlier this week after a senior US official made a rare and forceful foray into what is an emotive domestic debate, saying Washington wanted Britain to stay in the EU - a position not shared by a majority of the British public as well as hardliners in Cameron's own ruling Conservative party.

But Cameron's spokesman said on Friday that the two governments saw eye to eye on the issue and that Obama and the prime minister had discussed the subject in a phone call the week before Christmas.

"The prime minister took the president through our approach to the EU and the president was supportive of it," the spokesman told reporters in London.

"He (Obama) is supportive of the prime minister's view that Britain's national interest is to be within the EU but to change the relationship with the EU."

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