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British leader calls for 'sensible dialogue' on BP

As BP chief Tony Hayward faced questions in the US Congress about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, British Prime Minister David Cameron has called for more "clarity" to give the company greater stability.

David Cameron

David Cameron wants to see a stable future for BP

British Prime Minister David Cameron has called for a "sensible dialogue" on the BP oil spill as the energy giant's boss faced a grilling in the US Congress over the environmental disaster.

Cameron said BP recognized it had obligations and "will have to spend a very large amount of money" to cap the leak and to pay compensation.

"But I know what BP also wants is some form of clarity and certainty about the future," he added, "so that it can be a strong and stable company, and of course as the British prime minister I would like to see that happen."

Cameron described BP as an important company both in Britain and the United States, and stressed that he wanted it to remain "strong and stable."

BP head faces questions

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward

Tony Hayward faced tough questions in the US Congress

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward made his first appearance in front of the US Congress on Thursday to try to defend the company against criticism over how it has handled to the disaster.

Hayward said the spill "never should have happened" and promised to do whatever it took to repair the damage.

BP faces a huge compensation bill for the clean-up of the spill, which was triggered by the explosion of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in April.

Author: Joanna Impey (AFP/Reuters)
Editor: Michael Lawton

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