Their relationship has appeared strained at times, but today in London, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave President George W. Bush a strong show of support on his top foreign policy priorities, including Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
With Bush at his side, Brown announced a tough new round of sanctions on Iran and said there will be more to come if the Iranian government continues to defy international demands to curb its nuclear program.
"If Iran continues to ignore united resolutions, to ignore our offers of partnership, we have no choice but to intensify sanctions," Brown said. "First of all, we will take action today that will freeze the overseas assets of the biggest bank in Iran — the Bank of Melli. And second, action will start today for a new phase of sanctions of oil and gas." Brown said the European Union would also support the sanctions.
Brown also announced that Britain will send more troops to Afghanistan. There are now 7,800 British troops in Afghanistan. Brown did not say how many more he would send. He did not specify how many troops he would send, but said the move would put British troop levels to the highest level of the war.
Also at the press conference, Bush said he would work to ease tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan about the flow of militants across the border between the two countries. Yesterday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened to use Afghan troops to go after militants in Pakistan.
"Obviously, it's a testy situation there," Bush said, adding that the coalition would work to "calm" tensions between the two countries.
"There's a lot of common ground," he said. "It's in no one's interest that extremists have a safe haven from which to operate."
Bush seemed to relish the strong support from Brown, especially because the British newspapers have been filled with stories about tensions between the two men, especially on Iraq.
"I know there's a lot of discussion here in the British press about whether or not there's going to be enough troops or not enough troops and all that business," Bush said.
"You're trying to distance this, that and the other, it's typical," he continued. "But I just want to remind you that he's got more troops in Iraq than initially anticipated. And like me, we'll be making the decisions based upon the conditions on the ground, the recommendations by our commanders without an artificial timetable set by politics."
For his part, Brown denied reports he is preparing to pull all of Britain's remaining 4,200 troops out of Iraq.
"In Iraq, there is a job to be done and we will continue to do the job and there's going to be no artificial timetable," Brown said.