CAMP DAVID, MD. — President Bush, starting a new relationship late in his presidency, welcomed British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Sunday with casual diplomacy.
In the tranquillity of the Catoctin Mountains, Bush and Brown began their brief meeting -- Sunday night and today -- at Camp David, with an emphasis on private time between the two. Their agenda is familiar: terrorist threats, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, crisis in Sudan's Darfur region, stalled trade.
Brown arrived by helicopter at Camp David after booming thunderstorms gave way to sunshine. He was greeted with a military honor guard.
"It's a great pleasure to be here at Camp David because there's so much history associated with it," Brown told Bush as the leaders exchanged small talk.
Bush drove his guest away in a golf cart after doing a playful 360-degree maneuver in front of the gathered media. The two were off for a private dinner.
En route to the United States, the new British leader said the world was indebted to the United States for taking the lead in the fight against terrorism. Brown said he would use his visit to strengthen what Britain considers its "most important bilateral relationship."
London and Washington are focused on "the biggest single and immediate challenge the world has to defeat: global terrorism," Brown told reporters traveling with him. "In this century it has fallen to America to take center stage."