Saturday, July 26, 2008

Obama Meets Gordon Brown in London

LONDON (AFP) - US presidential hopeful Barack Obama met British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London on Saturday, focusing on key foreign policy issues facing both countries, particularly Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Democratic White House nominee went to the British leader's official 10 Downing Street residence after an early meeting with Brown's predecessor, Tony Blair, now the international community's Middle East envoy.

Obama shook hands with police officers in Downing Street before halting on steps. He smiled and waved to reporters before heading inside.

Protocol dictates that Brown would not appear with Obama on the steps of 10 Downing Street, as he did not do the same for John McCain when the Republican Party candidate visited London in March.

Photographs were to be taken inside before Obama addresses the media in the street.


CNN: "The prime minister's emphasis, like mine, is on how we can strengthen the transatlantic relationship to solve problems that can't be solved by any single country individually," Obama told reporters outside Downing Street after the meeting.

Those problems, Obama said, include climate change, international terrorism and turmoil in world financial markets. Obama and Brown also discussed cooperation in resolving the problems in the Middle East and burden-sharing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It was a spectacular day and I'm glad to be here," Obama said.

Earlier, Obama met with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who now serves as the Middle East envoy for the "quartet" of the United States, the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations.

Following his meeting with Brown, Obama met with opposition leader David Cameron, head of the Conservative Party, before heading back to the United States.

Obama's trip has taken him through the Middle East and Europe, starting with Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and the West Bank and finishing with Germany, France and Britain.

The Democrat explained he canceled the visit out of concern it would be perceived as a campaign opportunity.

"That triggered, then, a concern that maybe our visit was going to be perceived as politics," he said. "The last thing that I want to do is have injured soldiers and the staff at these wonderful institutions having to sort through whether this is political or not."

Britain was a low-key stop on Obama's itinerary, in part because no major events were planned. Brown also decided not to greet the U.S. senator on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street because he didn't grant the same honor to McCain when the Republican visited in March.

Watch McCain's applesauce adventure
Obama's exhausting schedule
CNN:It is no secret that Sen. Barack Obama’s whirlwind tour of the Middle East and Europe has left him, and everyone staffing and covering him, absolutely exhausted.

When asked how he was feeling the other day, he told reporters aboard his campaign plane that he was feeling a bit “sleepy.”

Earlier today, while meeting with Conservative Party Leader David Cameron, the pool camera microphone picked up some light banter between the two men about Obama’s current state of fatigue.

Cameron told the candidate, "You should be on the beach…you need a break. Well you need to be able to keep your head together.

Obama with Cameron