Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic presidential candidate, held
talks with British leaders in London on Saturday as he wound up a
foreign tour that took him to Afghanistan, Iraq, other parts of the the
Middle East and Europe. VOA's Sonja Pace reports from the British
Barack Obama met with British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown for nearly two hours at number 10 Downing Street and then stepped
outside to talk to the press, about what he said had been a "terrific
"The prime minister's emphasis, like mine, is
how we can strengthen the trans-Atlantic relationship, solve problems
that can't be solved by any single country individually, climate
change, the issue of international terrorism, some of the issues
surrounding financial markets," he said.
He also thanked Britain for its contribution in Afghanistan.
know the troops here in Great Britain have borne a heavy price for wars
in both Iraq and Afghanistan and I think the American people are
grateful," said Obama.
The presidential hopeful is on the final
part of the European leg of his world tour that has taken him to
Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian Territories,
Germany, France and now Britain.
The low-key tone of this stop
was in sharp contrast to the visit in Berlin where the Illinois senator
addressed a crowd of over 200,000 enthusiastic Germans.
of the world, look at Berlin where a wall came down, a continent came
together and history proved that there is no challenge too great for a
world that stands as one," said the Democratic presidential candidate.
high profile nature of Obama's world tour has led some pundits to
question the appropriateness of the candidate being given what amounts
to a presidential welcome. After the huge turnout in Berlin on
Thursday, Obama stood side by side with Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris in the
kind of photo op normally reserved for a head of state.
put the low-key nature of the London visit down to the British
government's desire not to show favoritism to either of the two U.S.
In London, Obama was asked whether his
foreign tour might not hurt him politically back home where people are
more concerned about domestic issues. He said he would not be surprised
if his opinion poll ratings dropped somewhat since he's been out of the
country. But, he said, the visit was an important one.
convinced that many of the issues that we face at home are not going to
be solved as effectively unless we have strong partners abroad and
unless we get a handle on Iraq and Afghanistan not only are we going to
be less safe, but it's also going to be a huge drain of resources,"
On this final stop, Obama also had private talks
with former British prime minister Tony Blair and had talks scheduled
with David Cameron, leader of the opposition Conservative party.