"I'm leaving you, but that doesn't mean we still can't be friends." Gordon Brown has paved the way for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq by telling George Bush he would not delay their exit in order to show unity with the United States.
After four hours of one-to-one talks with the US President at his Camp David retreat, Mr Brown told a joint press converence he would make a Commons statement in October on the future of the 5,500 British troops in the Basra region.
The Bush administration, under mounting domestic pressure to produce an exit strategy from Iraq, has been nervous that a full British withdrawal would add to the criticism. But Mr Brown made clear-and President Bush accepted-that Britain would go its own way, even if that gave the impression that the two countries were diverging. "It's not a divorce, honey-it's a trial separation. And please don't call me again."