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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Brown Departs for Bush Talks

LONDON -- Prime Minister Gordon Brown traveled to the United States on Sunday, saying he planned to use the official visit to strengthen what Britain already considers its "most important bilateral relationship."

"It is a relationship that is founded on our common values of liberty, opportunity and the dignity of the individual," Brown said in a statement. "And because of the values we share, the relationship with the United States is not only strong, but can become stronger in the years ahead."

Brown, making his first visit to the U.S. as Britain's new leader, denied speculation that the relationship was cooling.

Brown's predecessor, Tony Blair, was often accused at home of being too compliant with the policies of U.S. President George W. Bush, especially regarding the Iraq war.

Brown will be boosted in potentially testy talks with Bush about Iraq by his strong domestic standing, with polls showing his Labour party has recaptured its lead over the Conservatives.

Visits to Camp David and the United Nations, where Brown will make a speech, are highlights of the leader's first major overseas visit since he ended his 10-year wait to succeed Blair.

In Washington, officials expressed optimism about warm ties between Bush and Brown. But there have already been frictions. Junior foreign affairs minister Mark Malloch-Brown raised eyebrows in Washington recently when he said Bush and Brown would not be "joined at the hip."