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British Prime Minister Meets President Bush, Pledges Continued Support for Iraq War

  • VOA News

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says his country will continue to support the US-led war in Iraq, following talks with President Bush at the White House.

Mr. Brown said at a joint press conference Thursday that the world should be grateful to Mr. Bush for leading the global fight against terrorism.

He said Britain would also continue to support efforts in Afghanistan. Mr. Brown said the military effort in Iraq and Afghanistan must be matched with economic and development programs.

Mr. Bush said he appreciates the sacrifice of British troops in Iraq and Britain's contribution of 79-hundred troops in Afghanistan.

The leaders said they also discussed the strained global economy and what their countries are doing to address housing concerns, inflation and an international food shortage.

Mr. Brown said he would push for an early world trade deal to give new confidence to the international economy. He also pledged to enhance dialogue between oil consumers and producers to stabilize and cut the price of oil, which is at more than 110 dollars a barrel.

Mr. Bush called on African leaders to address the post-election crisis in Zimbabwe. He also expressed frustration that the joint United Nations - African Union peacekeeping force has been slow to arrive in Sudan's Darfur region. The leaders also discussed Burma's slow political reforms and Iran's nuclear program.

Earlier, Mr. Brown met separately with the three US presidential candidates hoping to succeed Mr. Bush -- Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and Republican Senator John McCain.

When asked who he favored, Mr. Brown said he was delighted to meet all three candidates, but said Americans must decide who their next president is going to be.

Mr. Brown is to meet the head of the US Federal Reserve (Ben Bernanke) and make a foreign policy speech in (the eastern state of) Massachusetts Friday, before returning to London.
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