Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Our Friendship Will Not Be Forgotten; Brown and Obama Meet at Oval Office

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Our Friendship Will Not Be Forgotten; Brown and Obama Meet at Oval Office

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Woodcock

US President Barack Obama yesterday reaffirmed his belief in the special relationship between Britain and America following talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the White House.

Sitting alongside Mr Brown in the Oval Office, Mr Obama said Britain's friendship to the US in Iraq and Afghanistan would not be forgotten.

And he added: "Great Britain is one of our closest and strongest allies and there is a link and bond there that will not break."

The president was speaking after around an hour of talks which were dominated by the economy, with both men agreeing that improvements were needed to the regulation of the global banking system.

Mr Brown became the first European leader to hold talks with Mr Obama since his inauguration in January.

The meeting, followed by a working lunch, comes ahead of the G20 summit of leading economies being hosted in London by Mr Brown on April 2, when he hopes to seal agreement on a common response to the global banking crisis.

During yesterday's talks, Mr Brown called for a "global new deal" which would see the world's biggest economies agree on a new regulatory system for banks, fiscal stimulus packages to boost growth and action to deal with "shadow banks" and regulatory and tax havens.

Mr Obama said he wanted the April summit to look at how the G20 countries can "in a co-ordinated fashion, stimulate their economies" and ensure a common front in making progress on banking.

The president cautioned that there would be no swift solution to the global economic crisis. But he held out the hope that co-ordinated action can get the world back on the path to prosperity.

"All of these steps, I think, are going to slowly build confidence but it is not going to happen yet," he said.

"We together have dug a very deep hole for ourselves. …

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