U.S. President George Bush is in London for talks with British Prime
Minister Gordon Brown. VOA White House correspondent Paula Wolfson
reports on Monday they will travel to Northern Ireland.
Their formal talks are expected to center on Iran and Iraq, as well as
trade and environmental concerns, and the evolution of the Northern
Ireland peace process.
President Bush arrived in London amid
reports the British government may set a deadline to withdraw its
troops from Iraq. At the same time, a British newspaper published an
interview with Mr. Bush in which he warned against setting an arbitrary
time table, saying any withdrawals must be based on success in the
The White House is downplaying differences with Britain
on the troop withdrawal issue. National Security Advisor Stephen
Hadley says both the president and the prime minister want to bring
troops home, but only when conditions are right.
They will have
their chance to discuss the matter in depth during their formal talks.
But on Sunday, the president's calendar was filled with social events -
a tour of Windsor Castle with Queen Elizabeth and a private dinner at
Prime Minister Brown's official residence with a group of historians.
Bush last met with Gordon Brown in April in Washington. But the big
headline out of that trip did not come out of the White House. It was
the prime minister's talks earlier in the day with the three U.S.
Senators who were - at the time - running for president.
Glenn - head of the foreign policy program at the German Marshall Fund
of the United States - says he was not surprised to learn the meetings
with the candidates came first.
"From now on people are going
to wait and see who wins the election, what is the terrain, what kind
of deal they need to make with the new president," Glenn said.
says Mr. Brown's predecessor, Tony Blair, found his ties to George Bush
to be a drag on his popularity in Britain. He says Prime Minister
Brown is more careful.
But at a White House news conference
during his April visit, the prime minister went out of his way to
declare the special relationship between Britain and the United States
Veteran journalist Reginald Dale - now with the
Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington - says Mr.
Bush appears more comfortable with the new leaders of Germany and
France. But he stresses this special relationship endures because it
is based on a common language and values, and transcends personalities.
"There is an extraordinary bond that cannot get broken just
because there are differences between Number 10 Downing St. (the
residence of the British prime minister) and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
(the White House)," Dale said.
After their formal talks and a
joint news conference, Prime Minister Brown and President Bush will
travel to Belfast, where they will hail progress in the Northern
Ireland peace process. It will be the last stop on a farewell tour of
Europe that has taken Mr. Bush to Slovenia, Germany, Italy and France.