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Americas Americas

Obama, Brown to meet in Washington

Latest update : 2009-02-23

US President Barack Obama and British PM Gordon Brown will hold talks in Washington next week, the White House announced Saturday. Topping the two leaders' agenda will be the global economic crisis and the joint strategy for Afghanistan.

REUTERS - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will hold talks with President Barack Obama in Washington on March 3 on the global financial crisis and a comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan, the White House said on Saturday.

“The United States and the United Kingdom share a special partnership, and the president looks forward to working closely with the prime minister to address common global challenges,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

The two leaders would discuss the G20 summit in London on April 2 and the upcoming NATO summit, in particular Obama’s call for a new, comprehensive strategy in Afghanistan, where both countries’ troops are part of a NATO-led force battling rising insurgent violence, the statement said.

Britain supported the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, despite strong domestic opposition to the wars. A staunch U.S. ally, Britain often refers to the so-called “special relationship” between the two countries.

The United States has 38,000 troops in Afghanistan and Obama has ordered 17,000 more sent there to tackle an intensifying insurgency.

Britain has about 8,000 troops based in Afghanistan as part of a NATO force. It is the second biggest foreign force in Afghanistan and Britain has supported American calls for other NATO allies to step up their contribution to operations there.

Britain, which has lost 145 troops in Afghanistan since 2001, also has forces in Iraq and has admitted that the two operations together create a substantial strain on its military forces.

The announcement of the visit followed news that the United States has agreed to release Binyam Mohamed, a British resident, held at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without charge for the past five years.

Obama last met Brown in London last year when he left the U.S. presidential campaign to tour several European capitals to show off his foreign policy credentials.

Brown wants world leaders to agree a package of coordinated measures to support the flagging world economy and fix its financial system when they meet at the G20 London summit in April.

Brown argues the success of Britain’s own efforts to boost its economy depends on measures implemented elsewhere and believes it is essential that countries work together because the problems they were face are global.

But there are concerns that countries will respond to the downturn with protectionist measures, which many say will hamper the global recovery.

Date created : 2009-02-21