SEC. BROWNE: As the secretary said -- (inaudible) -- welcome you to the United Kingdom. You come with an enviable reputation in security and in politics, and I -- (inaudible) -- speak very highly of you, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
We have had an opportunity (before ?) today to have (initial ?) conversation. I -- (inaudible) -- today that discussions, of course -- (inaudible) -- substantial, but (importantly ?) we have been -- (really ?) been talking about Iraq. (Inaudible) -- to talk about Afghanistan and our areas of common interests. And -- (inaudible) -- we are the closest of allies. (Inaudible) -- and all the sacrifices men and women of our nations have made for the collective security of both countries and regions. And I -- (inaudible) -- ourselves with the families and friends and colleagues of those -- (inaudible) -- the United Kingdom have lost in both Afghanistan and in Iraq -- (inaudible) -- in Afghanistan and in -- (inaudible) -- and in Iraq.
We have had a short meeting and we have been quite -- (inaudible) -- in discussing Iraq. (Inaudible) -- to working with you and to developing an even stronger relationship with you over the coming months. Thank you very much.
SEC. GATES: Thank you, Secretary Browne. And thank you for your hospitality.
In a prior (career ?) I had very close relationships with my British colleagues, and I look forward to having the same kind of close relationship with Secretary Browne in the time to come.
It's been -- (inaudible) -- getting to know the prime minister and getting started on a relationship with Secretary Browne. This evening I look forward to our further talks (purely ?) on Iraq and Afghanistan. We share goals and objectives.
(Inaudible) -- and my sympathy as well to the families of the soldiers who were killed over this weekend. We are all mindful of the men and women who are serving both of our countries in these areas.
Britain is our most important international partner in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We've had good conversations about Iraq, a good conversation about Iraq, and I look forward to talking further about Afghanistan, where I am headed in a few days. And I have no doubt that in the days and months, weeks to come that Secretary Browne and I will talk -- (off mike) -- United States and the United Kingdom. And I look forward to that -- continuing that dialogue.
Thank you very much.
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