[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 22 November, 2003, 06:01 GMT
Bush praises UK after visit
Laura and George Bush
Bush said it was a "fantastic trip"
US President George Bush arrived back in Washington and said his visit to the UK had "reaffirmed the special relationship" the two countries share.

The president told reporters he and Tony Blair had strengthened their resolve to fight terrorism together.

He flew back from Teesside airport on Air Force One on Friday evening after spending the day in Prime Minister Tony Blair's constituency of Sedgefield.

A 1m security operation took place as 500 people protested in the area.

Cream of potato and leek soup
Fish and chips with mushy peas
Lemon creme brulee
Drinks: Non-alcoholic lager for Mr Bush, soft drinks for Mrs Bush and the Blairs

On landing in Washington, the president said: "We have got a special relationship with Britain and that was reaffirmed in the last three days."

He said it provided "the chance to continue our dialogue about how to fight and defeat terror".

Earlier, he visited Mr Blair's house in the village of Trimdon Colliery and the two men and their wives had lunch at the Dun Cow Inn in Sedgefield town centre.

Mr Bush told reporters: "We had a good lunch. I have had a wonderful trip. The prime minister has been a gracious host, as was Her Majesty."

After lunch, the party visited Sedgefield Community College, a specialist sports school, to talk to pupils and watch a display of football skills.

Private visit

The protesters in Sedgefield were addressed by leaders of the Stop the War coalition and local politicians.

John Rees of the Stop the War coalition said: "We want George Bush to understand that when he scuttled out of London, there would be no escape from us in the North East.

Tony and Cherie Blair
Tony Blair said the UK had an "enduring" ally
"We have made a mockery of this visit and it deserves to be made a mockery of because they wanted to make a mockery of us.

"They wanted to use this visit to launch President Bush's election campaign."

But Mr Bush also received support as his helicopter landed on playing fields in Trimdon near Mr Blair's Myrobella home.

Coach driver Michael Evans said: "Mr Blair lives here, we wanted him as our MP, and if he wants to invite Mr Bush, then it is a great honour for the people of Trimdon.

Tony Blair again proved that he is passionate about this relationship and is ready to take risks to preserve it
BBC News Online's Nick Assinder

"Everybody has turned out around the green to applaud him and, while there are a few people who do not agree with all the roads being closed, we have the world's most powerful man here in our village.

"It has never happened before and it is just a great honour to have him."

President Bush's state visit to the UK ended when he left Buckingham Palace earlier on Friday.

The trip to Sedgefield was deemed a private visit.

The state visit was overshadowed on Thursday by the bomb attacks in Turkey in which 27 people - including four Britons - lost their lives and at least 450 were injured.

Roads in Sedgefield were closed to traffic during the presidential visit, while drains, post boxes and rubbish bins were sealed.

The nearby village of Trimdon Colliery, where Mr Blair has his constituency home, was also been affected by the traffic measures, as have some nearby main roads.

The overall police operation involved 1,300 officers from various forces.

The BBC's Roland Buerk
"The end of a state visit that...saw President and Prime Minister, closer than ever"

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific