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Brown, Bush hold talks

world Updated: Jul 30, 2007 09:16 IST

IANS
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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was greeted by US President Bush to start a two-day visit.

Bush met the helicopter carrying Brown as it landed at Camp David, the presidential retreat in the mountains of western Maryland, outside Washington.

The visit is Brown's first to the US since taking office on June 27. They are expected to jointly speak to reporters Monday around 11.30 am (1530 GMT) at Camp David.

Topics to be discussed between the two leaders include the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran's nuclear programme, the genocide in Sudan's Darfur region and combating terrorism.

Bush enjoyed a close personal relationship and political partnership with Brown's predecessor, Tony Blair, who stood by Bush over the war in Iraq despite the British public's strong disapproval for Blair's decision to participate in the 2003 invasion. The continuing struggle in Iraq helped to undermine Blair and sped his departure from Downing Street.

The current meeting is an opportunity for Bush to hear Brown's perspective on the war, which leads the issues that have driven Bush's own approval ratings to historic lows at home.

Bush has faced congressional pressure to set a timeframe for the withdrawal of US soldiers from Iraq but insists a new strategy including more US forces needs more time to work.

Bush's top general in Iraq, David Petraeus, and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker, are due to report on the situation in Iraq in mid-September.