07-29-2007, 08:03 PM
Direct Action Resistance Fighter
Joined: Aug 2006
World owes US a debt, says Brown
Quote:The world owes a debt to the United States for its leadership in the fight against international terrorism, Gordon Brown has said.
The prime minister described the link with the US as the UK's "most important bilateral relationship" ahead of his first talks with President George Bush.
A foreign office minister had suggested the two countries would no longer be "joined at the hip" on foreign policy.
Analysts will be looking for signs of Labour distancing itself from the US.
BBC political editor Nick Robinson said Mr Brown was "walking a tightrope" in his dealings with America.
He needed to reassure Mr Bush of his commitment to the Atlantic relationship as well as convince British voters that links between the US and the UK would be different to those maintained by former prime minister Tony Blair, our correspondent said.
The prime minister was flying to Camp David for a private dinner with the president on Sunday night at his Maryland retreat.
He will then head to Washington on Monday for cross-party talks with senate leaders and members of congress.
Earlier this month, Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch Brown said it was time for a more "impartial" foreign policy and for Britain to build relationships with European leaders.
But en route to the US, Mr Brown described himself as an "Atlanticist and a great admirer of the American sprit".
"And as Prime Minister I want to do more to strengthen even further our relationship with the US," he said.
"It is firmly in the British national interest that we have a strong relationship with the US, our single most important bilateral relationship."
Mr Brown said the shared ideals of two centuries of history "have linked the destinies" of the two countries.
He also quoted Winston Churchill - the first British prime minister to visit Camp David - who also spoke of a "joint inheritance".
This close relationship would help in the fight against nuclear proliferation, global poverty, climate change and global terrorism, Mr Brown said.
"And we should acknowledge the debt the world owes to the United States for its leadership in this fight against international terrorism," he added.
The talks at Camp David on Monday were expected to include Foreign Secretary David Milliband and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
They are expected to discuss international issues such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Darfur, Kosovo, world trade and climate change.
Tony Blair enjoyed a close relationship with Mr Bush but there has been speculation that Mr Brown wants to keep his distance from the president.
The shadow foreign secretary, William Hague, told the BBC the prime minister and foreign secretary needed to set a clear stance.
He said: "They should not be leaving it to more junior ministers to create misunderstandings about the relationship with America, which is what has happened over the last few weeks.
"Our approach, the approach David Cameron and I take, is that our relationship with America should be what we call solid but not slavish and it should gain frankness without losing its closeness."
Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell said three main issues should be discussed at the meeting.
"Renegotiation of the one-sided extradition treaty, the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre and a negotiated withdrawal of British forces from Iraq," he said.
"These should be the objectives of a candid friend. The excessively subordinated relationship between the President and Mr Blair should be put to bed."
Speaking in the US, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander emphasised the need for "new alliances, based on common values".
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