Gordon Brown to Meet with Obama
By Michael D. Shear
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will discuss the global economic meltdown with President Obama when the two men meet in Washington next week, a senior British official said today.
"That's the preoccupation for leaders around the world," the official said in a briefing for reporters in advance of the prime minister's visit, which will include a speech to a joint session of Congress.
British officials said Brown also plans to raise the ongoing military missions in Iraq and in Afghanistan, where Britain has about 8,500 soldiers fighting the Taliban.
The official, who asked for anonymity to discuss the issues that are likely to come up between the two leaders, said he does not expect Brown to offer any additional troops for the president's expanded mission in Afghanistan.
"I don't think they'll be looking particularly to the U.K.," the official said, referring to the U.S. efforts to get more allies to participate in the fight there. "We've already scaled up, I think, is the message."
Britain is hosting the G-20 economic summit in London at the beginning of April, and Brown is expected to discuss the goals of the summit with Obama next week.
Obama said this week that he wants to have his review of financial regulations ready for presentation to other nations during the G-20 meeting on April 2.
Brown also plans to raise other issues with Obama in their first meeting since the inauguration, British officials said. Those include the need to address climate change, reform of international institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, and efforts to promote Middle East peace.
The officials said Britain would likely tell Obama that European governments will be ready to sharpen their sanctions against Iran if that country does not respond to pressure to stop developing a nuclear weapon.
Brown will arrive in the U.S. Monday evening and will meet with the president the next morning. His speech to Congress will be on Wednesday, followed by a lunch with the Congressional leadership.
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