Barack to Birmingham on the agenda during Ambassador visit

By on 25/02/2010 in News

The possibility of Barack Obama visiting Birmingham will be on the agenda when City Council Leader Mike Whitby meets the US Ambassador to Britain Louis Susman on tomorrow (February 26).

Cllr Whitby will raise the matter when the pair attend a British American Business Council lunch event, being staged at the ICC.

Mr Susman has strong links to the Obama administration, having helped raise funds for the President during his campaign to take control at the White House.

It is hoped this week's meeting and Chicago's status as a sister city of Birmingham will place the city in a prominent position when locations are considered for President Obama's future visits to the UK.

Cllr Whitby said: “The US has number one status when it comes to direct foreign investment in the West Midlands, which means that the Ambassador's visit to Birmingham is of great significance.

“The fact our Sister City of Chicago is the hometown of both President Obama and Mr Susman is also of note - a natural link is there. I have had the pleasure of meeting with Mr Obama in the US but I think a visit by the President would be inspirational to our city's population.

Other matters likely to be on the agenda when Cllr Whitby meets Mr Susman are the US Track and Field Team's deal to use Birmingham as a base ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, and the improved transport links to America that a runway extension at Birmingham International Airport would bring.

Cllr Whitby added: “The US athletics team will be amongst the strongest at the Olympics, so I am keen to update the Ambassador - who has strong sporting links as a former board member of the St Louis Cardinals baseball team - on the preparations we are making to ensure American athletes have a stay to remember in the city.

“It is also important to keep up the campaign to improve the city's transport links, and the proposed runway extension at Birmingham International Airport opens up a host of opportunities for the region that can only be beneficial to travellers on both sides of the Atlantic.”


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