Discuss as:

Cameron: No Lockerbie inquiry

From NBC's Ali Weinberg
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the Scottish government "had no business" releasing the Lockerbie bomber from prison, but said that he would not stage an inquiry into British Petroleum's involvement in Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi's return to his native Libya.

Standing next to President Obama during the leaders' first joint press conference, Cameron also urged against prejudging BP's interference in the case, stressing the company's job-creating role in his country and his host's.

"BP is an important company to both the British and the American economies. Thousands of jobs on both sides of the Atlantic depend on it, so it's in the interests of both our countries as we agreed that it remains a strong and stable company in the future," Cameron said.

According to AP reports, approximately 18 million Britons hold shares in BP in one form or another, many through their pension funds.

"And let us not confuse the oil spill with the Libyan bomber," Cameron added, expressing his desire not to see BP blamed for an undue share of the world's ills.

Cameron also said that he would order his cabinet secretary to review any still-unpublished British documents that might shed more light on whether BP specifically lobbied the Scottish government on al-Megrahi's behalf to maintain commercial ties with Libya.

He said he wasn't "currently minded" to hold a British inquiry into the case. "I think publishing this information combined with the inquiry that's already been hold will give people the certainty they need about the circumstances surrounding this decision," he said.

President Obama sidestepped a question as to whether he would like to see a Congressional investigation of the circumstances surrounding the bomber's release, instead deferring to his British counterpart.

"I think the key thing to understand here is we've got a British prime minister who shares our anger over the decision, who also objects to how it played out, and so I'm fully supportive of Prime Minister Cameron's efforts to gain a better understanding of it," Obama said.

The press conference came just hours after the two leaders met privately for a working lunch. Besides BP, one of the other issues discussed was the war in Afghanistan. Britain has 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, but Cameron has indicated that he wants all soldiers to be gone by 2015.

The leaders seemed to reflect a difference of opinion on dealing with the Taliban, with President Obama expressing a far more aggressive stance than Cameron, despite a report in the British newspaper The Guardian today saying that the White House is considering negotiating with senior Taliban members.

"We're going to break the Taliban's momentum," Obama said.

Cameron took a more conciliatory tone. "To those people currently fighting, if they give up violence, if they cut themselves off from Al-Qaeda, if they accept the basic tenants of the Afghan constitution, they can have a future in a peaceful Afghanistan," he said.