Bush arrives in UK amid huge security operation


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Bush arrives in UK amid huge security operation

Matthew Weaver and agencies guardian.co.uk,
Sunday June 15 2008

George Bush arrived in the UK today for his last presidential visit to the country before leaving the White House next January.

Airforce One touched down at Heathrow just before 2pm. On the final leg of his European tour Bush will take tea with the Queen, dine with Gordon Brown and have breakfast with Tony Blair.

His arrival has prompted planned demonstrations and a heavy security operation.

The Stop the War coalition are planning protests at Windsor and Parliament Square. They are also expected to defy a police ban and march past Downing Street.

The Metropolitan Police said it has mounted a "significant" operation involving 1,000 officers.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Bush urged Britain against setting out a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq. In an interview with Observer he said: "there should be no definitive timetable."

In an apparent warning to Brown he said: "I am confident that he [Brown] like me, will listen to our commanders to make sure that the sacrifices that have gone forward won't be unravelled by draw-downs that may not be warranted at this point in time.

After touching down president travelled by helicopter from Heathrow to Windsor for a visit to the Queen.

Later Brown will host a dinner for Bush and his wife Laura, before formal talks at No 10 tomorrow.

Andrew Burgin, a spokesman for the anti-war coalition said: "We think Bush is a war criminal. Both Blair and Bush are responsible by duplicity and lying for an illegal invasion of Iraq.

The talks between the president and the prime minister tomorrow are expected to cover the continuing world economic crisis, rising fuel and food prices, and attempts to get the oil producing countries to step up production to ease the oil price.

The US leader will also have a meeting with controversial ally Blair in the former prime minister's role as Middle East envoy.

Laura Bush will follow her own itinerary visiting the Charles Dickens Museum in London and touring the Afghani and Burmese collections at the British Museum.

Later tomorrow Bush will travel to Stormont in Belfast and join Brown for talks with Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson, and his deputy Martin McGuinness.
 

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