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UK PM And President Bush United On Security Issues

PM and President united on security issues

The Prime Minister and President George Bush have spoken of their determination to resolve international security issues relating to Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

In a joint press conference in London today, the PM announced an increase in UK troop numbers in Afghanistan that will take them to their highest level in the fight against the Taliban. The UK will also press the EU to step up sanctions against Iran over its nuclear enrichment activities, he said.

President Bush said the UK had been "strong on Afghanistan and Iraq" and that it was appreciated by the people of both countries. Mr Brown insisted the Government would not "trade numbers" over troop levels between the two countries and there would be no "artificial timetable" over withdrawals.

Defence Secretary Des Browne will make a statement on troop levels in Afghanistan in Parliament later today, the PM said.

On Iran, the PM said there did not need to be a "path of confrontation" with the West and that Britain would do "everything possible" to maintain dialogue with Tehran.

He said:

"If Iran continues to ignore (United Nations) resolutions, to ignore our offers of partnership, we have no choice but to intensify sanctions.

"I will repeat that we will take any necessary action so that Iran is aware of the choice it has to make to start to play its part as a full and respected member of the international community - or face further isolation."

The two leaders also spoke of their concern over the actions of Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe and called for the 27 June election there to be free and fair.

The PM and President Bush will travel to Northern Ireland today before the President returns to the US at the end of his European tour. Mr Brown and Mr Bush also held detailed talks during the PM's offical visit to the US in April this year.


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