Obama and British PM bond over beer and football

26th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

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 both hailed the "special relationship" between their two countries after exchanging the drinks following a bet on this month's World Cup game between England and the United States that 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.

"We already I think have 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," Obama told reporters.

Cameron added: "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 US, 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, 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 it is likely that the issue would have been discussed, sources said.

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 than the one given his predecessor.

© 2010 AFP

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