27 Jul 2008

Obama makes low-key visit to London

8:00 am on 27 July 2008

White House hopeful Barack Obama has wrapped up his foreign tour in London, after talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The Democratic Party presidential candidate said he spoke with Mr Brown on topics ranging from the Middle East to climate change, terrorism and financial markets.

The British Prime Minister followed protocol to ensure he did not appear to be favouring a particular candidate in the race between Barack Obama and Repubican candidate John McCain.

There was no handshake between the two at the front door of Downing Street, as would take place with a visiting head of government and Gordon Brown did not join him for the news conference.

He met former Prime Minister Tony Blair, now a Middle East peace envoy, on Saturday, where the discussion focused on the Middle East and climate change. He later met Conservative Party leader David Cameron.

Mr Obama's overseas tour began in Iraq and Afghanistan and included Israel, Jordan and Kuwait as well as Europe.

In contrast to the public reception he received in Berlin and Paris, Mr Obama's London visit was being kept deliberately low key.

While in Paris, Mr Obama said Iran should not wait for the next United States president to be elected before resolving its dispute with the West.

The Illinois senator said Tehran should promptly accept an international call to freeze its "illicit nuclear programme". Iran insists its nuclear campaign is peaceful.