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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Plans to Roll Out Red Carpet for Major

LONDON -- Prime Minister John Major will get a red-carpet welcome when he flies to the United States on Sunday for a 48-hour visit aimed at improving transatlantic ties strained by differences over Northern Ireland and Bosnia.

Clinton has arranged for Major to make a sentimental visit to Pittsburgh, where the prime minister's father grew up, and has invited him to spend Monday night at the White House -- an honor extended only to wartime leader Winston Churchill and Major's predecessor, Margaret Thatcher. A senior U.S. official said perceptions of strain in the personal relations between Major and Clinton were wide off the mark.

As Major's strong support for the recent round of GATT world trade talks showed, Washington and London still see eye-to-eye on most issues, especially in the economic sphere, he added.

And in the two areas where a rift has opened, British officials are confident that views are again converging.

Major was angered and embarrassed when Clinton approved a visa earlier this month for Gerry Adams, head of the political wing of the Irish Republican Army.

But after Adams in turn embarrassed Clinton by failing to reject violence as a solution to the political problems of Northern Ireland, British officials believe that a fresh visa request would be rejected and that the U.S. is now backs the Anglo-Irish peace plan.

"The fact that the Americans are making this effort is welcome to us," an aide to Major said.

While Bosnia will top his agenda, Major also wants to discuss Iraq and South Africa and will review world economic prospects with Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Major will return to London on Tuesday after addressing the British-American chamber of commerce in New York and meeting UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.