Brown stresses soft power at UN after hard talks with Bush

August 1, 2007 - 0:0

NEW YORK (AFP) --The prime minister Gordon Brown, who arrived in New York Monday night after two days of talks with U.S. President George W. Bush at his Camp David retreat north of Washington, was to meet UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Tuesday morning.

""The prime minister is going to focus on what we need to do to achieve those goals,"" a Downing Street official said, amid concern some countries are failing to honor the commitments they signed up to in 2000.
The goals include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; reducing child mortality; and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
Brown, who as chancellor in 2006 announced at least 15 billion dollars in British funding for education in Africa over the next decade, has talked with rock star activist Bono in the last month, the official disclosed.
The dual focus of Brown's U.S. trip can be seen as an attempt to set out his foreign policy in concrete terms, combining belief in the ""hard"" power of military might where necessary with ""soft"" power aid and economic development.
Since coming to office, commentators have been looking for differences in his approach to foreign policy from Blair, whose close alignment with Bush over Iraq caused controversy and hastened his departure from office.
He has appointed several Iraq skeptics to senior ministerial posts while two of his close allies were interpreted as having made implicit criticisms that Washington was taking a unilateral, protectionist approach on the world stage.
But Brown, who has repeatedly denied the charges, gave little hint of a change of tack at a joint news conference Monday, reaffirming his commitment to supporting military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At the same time he praised London and Washington's common goals on disease prevention in Africa and Bush's landmark pledge in June to work for the first time with international partners to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
And on Darfur, where Washington has imposed unilateral sanctions on Sudan, the UN Security Council is poised to vote on a draft resolution authorizing a hybrid African Union-UN peacekeeping force into the troubled region.
-------------Prime Minister Brown (L) meets with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AFP/Tim Sloan