Obama arrives in Britain for official state visit

24th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

US President Barack Obama on Monday landed in London for the second leg of his European visit, a day ahead of schedule due to a volcanic ash cloud drifting towards Britain.

Air Force One landed at London's Stansted Airport at 10:15 pm (2115 GMT) according to an AFP photographer on board, kicking off a two-day official state visit full of pomp and pageantry.

As a guest of Queen Elizabeth II, Obama will stay at Buckingham Palace but will spend his first unscheduled night in London at the US ambassador's residence.

During his visit, the US leader will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron and will also talk to opposition Labour party leader Ed Miliband.

In a joint article for The Times newspaper, Obama and Cameron hailed the "essential relationship" between the two countries.

"When the United States and Britain stand together, our people and people around the world can become more secure and more prosperous," they said. "That is the key to our relationship.

"It is founded on a deep emotional connection, by sentiment and ties of people and culture. But the reason it thrives, the reason why this is such a natural partnership, is because it advances our common interests and shared values.

"Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship -- for us and for the world," the two leaders concluded.

The US president earlier Monday received a rapturous welcome during his brief stay in Ireland where he visited the small town which sired his ancestor Falmouth Kearney before addressing a crowd of 25,000 in Dublin.

© 2011 AFP

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