Obama and new British PM bond over beer, football
US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron toasted the "special relationship" between their two countries Saturday, swapping bottles of beer after a World Cup bet.
The pair, who travelled to Toronto for the G20 summit together in Obama's helicopter after technical issues grounded Cameron's, clinked bottles after their first meeting since Cameron took office last month.
They hailed the "special relationship" between their two countries after exchanging the drinks following a bet on who would win this month's World Cup football game between England and the United States which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Obama presented Cameron with a bottle of Goose Island 312 from his home city of Chicago, while Cameron gave Obama a bottle of Hobgoblin, which is made in his constituency in Oxfordshire, west of London.
"I advised him that in America we drink our beer cold, so he has to put this in the refrigerator before he drinks it," the president joked.
On relations between the two countries, Obama told reporters that he and Cameron had "established a strong working relationship and we are confident that the special relationship is only going to get stronger in the months and years to come."
Cameron agreed, saying: "The relationship between our two countries I think is incredibly strong and I think can get stronger in the years ahead."
Britain is the second-largest contributor of troops to the war in Afghanistan after the United States, but the two did not refer to the recent dismissal of General Stanley McChrystal, commander of US and NATO forces.
"We're convinced that we have the right strategy to provide the time and the space for the Afghan government to build its capacity over the next several months and years," Obama said.
Nor did they publicly comment on BP, the British-based oil giant whose actions have drawn sharp criticism in the United States over its handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst environmental disaster in US history.
But Downing Street later said the British-based oil giant had been discussed and the pair agreed it should remain "strong and stable."
Obama was accused of having snubbed Cameron's predecessor Gordon Brown on his first visit to Washington by presenting him with a disappointing gift -- a set of DVDs that would not even work in a British player.
Brown had tried to impress his new colleague by giving him an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet, sister ship of HMS Resolute, from which Obama's Oval Office desk was carved.
Cameron is due to visit the White House on July 20 and will be hoping for a warmer reception.
© 2010 AFP