TORONTO (AFP) – US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron agreed BP should "remain a strong and
stable company" after meeting ahead of the G20 summit in Toronto,
Downing Street said.

In their first face-to-face talks since Cameron took power last month, the PM raised the issue of the British-based oil giant, which has faced heavy criticism in the United States over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

"The leaders agreed that BP should meet its obligations to cap the leak, clean up the damage and meet legitimate compensation claims,"
Downing Street said in a statement issued after the meeting.

"They also agreed that it was to both countries' advantage for BP to remain a strong and stable company."

A senior US administration official added both leaders had agreed that "BP has certain obligations and that those obligations have got to be met."

On Friday, Cameron warned against the "destruction" of the company, saying it was "important for all our interests."

BP has faced increasingly heavy criticism from the Obama administration over the country's worst ever environmental disaster, triggered when a BP-leased rig exploded in the Gulf in April. The president has vowed to hold BP accountable for the spill.

Despite desperate efforts, BP is still not capping all of the 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil estimated to be spilling into the sea every day,
saying it is managing to contain around 25,000 barrels a day.

The firm says it has spent 2.35 billion dollars on compensation and clean-up costs, but the final costs are likely to be even higher.

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