By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
April 17, 2008 - In two-part harmony, President Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown vowed to work together to combat terrorism. During a joint news conference at the White House Rose Garden following a closed-door meeting, the two leaders pledged continued multilateral military commitment in Afghanistan and spoke critically about Iran's uranium enrichment.
"Prime Minister Brown understands our enemies remain determined to strike our countries and to kill our people. He and I share a determination -- a fierce determination -- that these evil men must be stopped and that we can defeat their hateful ideology by the spreading of liberty and freedom," Bush said, calling the prime minister his good friend.
Invoking Winston Churchill's famous phrase, Brown said no bilateral bond has better served the world than the "special relationship" between the United States and United Kingdom. "And following our excellent meeting, I'm able to report that the bond between our two countries is stronger than ever," he added.
Brown praised his American counterpart for leading the crusade against global extremism. "The world owes President George Bush a huge debt of gratitude for leading the world in our determination to root out terrorism and to ensure that there is no safe haven for terrorism and no hiding place for terrorists," he said.
On Iraq, the president said the two nations are working together and lauded recent efforts by British troops in Basra. "During the recent fighting in the Basra province, our nations coordinated our support for the Iraqi security forces as they took on extremists and criminals," he said. "I'm most thankful for the brilliance of the British helicopter crews that fired under courage and helped evacuate wounded Iraqi soldiers."
Brown agreed that his nation's overwatch role in Basra in southern of Iraq is making "substantial progress." He added that much of the leaders' discussion involved U.S.-U.K. forces serving together in Iraq and Afghanistan. "We praise the commitment of the troops of both America and Britain and all who serve in these two countries," he said.
America and Britain, respectively, have the first and second largest number of forces in Afghanistan and are determined on the success of our missions, the prime minister said. He added that he and Bush agreed at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, early this month to match the military effort in Afghanistan with proposals that will enable economic and social development there.
Bush said he appreciates the 7,900 British troops bravely serving in Afghanistan. "We talked about the very successful NATO summit that we just concluded in Romania," he said, referring to his afternoon discussion with Brown. "We talked about our commitment to see to it that we succeed in Afghanistan."
The heads of state also agreed on mounting multilateral opposition to Iran's defiant pursuit of nuclear capabilities.
"Our position is clear: that we're going to work together, along with other nations, to make it abundantly clear to the Iranian regime that they must not have the capability of developing a nuclear weapon," the president said.
Echoing Bush, the prime minister said, "Iran continues to defy the will of the international community, and we are agreed on the need to strengthen the sanctions regime and ensure these sanctions are effectively implemented."
Brown said he will meet with other European leaders over the next few days to discuss moving forward with the issue across the continent.