British Prime Minister David Cameron met with Wall Street CEOs on Wednesday to press the case for doing business in the United Kingdom, and later planned to rub elbows with media and political elites at a welcome dinner on his first official visit to New York City.
The closed meeting with business leaders included top executives at JP Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley. The British consulate said the discussions focused on prospects for more trade and investment with the UK.
Cameron, who took office 10 weeks ago, also planned talks later with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
He arrived in New York on Wednesday afternoon after a visit to Washington, where he met with President Barack Obama and discussed the war in Afghanistan at the Pentagon with U.S. officials, including Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn.
Cameron was greeted in New York by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a street corner just after he arrived. The pair grabbed hot dogs from a street vendor but ignored questions from reporters while they ate. Cameron did flash a thumbs-up when asked about his lunch.
He and Bloomberg planned to wrap up the day with another meal together — a more refined private dinner on the Upper East Side.
The guest list, provided to The Associated Press, included Whoopi Goldberg, Katie Couric, Diane von Furstenberg, Newt Gingrich, NBA commissioner David J. Stern and News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh also RSVP'd to attend.
Guests were to be served grilled lamb chops, string beans and roasted fingerling potatoes and were to watch a private performance by Rufus Wainwright, a Bloomberg aide said.
Cameron had hoped his first U.S. visit as prime minister would focus on trade and troop involvement in Afghanistan, but it has been overshadowed by questions of whether oil giant BP swayed Scotland's decision to release the Lockerbie bomber.
Libyan Abdel Baset al-Megrahi was convicted for the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people, most of them American and many from the New York area. Last year the Scottish government released the cancer-stricken al-Megrahi on compassionate grounds.
The matter has received new attention because of accusations that BP helped influence the release of al-Megrahi as part of efforts to seek access to Libyan oil fields.
BP has acknowledged that it urged the British government to sign a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya but says it never specified al-Megrahi's case.
The four U.S. senators from New York and New Jersey met with Cameron on Tuesday to press for a new investigation.
In a solo appearance Wednesday, Bloomberg said that while al-Megrahi's release was a "miscarriage of justice," he said he had no plans to press the case further with Cameron.
"That's a federal issue and there's no reason why I would bring it up," he said.