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US President George W Bush arrived at Downing Street yesterday for
talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair suddenly overshadowed
by deadly bomb blasts in Istanbul.
Bush, Blair and their wives posed grim-faced for reporters in front
of the black front door of the prime minister's official residence,
before stepping inside, followed by several members of Bush's large
Reporters shouted questions to the leaders, but neither
At least 17 people were reported killed and more than 350 injured
in two bomb attacks Thursday on British targets in Turkey's largest
city, Istanbul, which the British government said had "all the
hallmarks" of the international terror group al-Qaeda.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who gave Britain's first reaction to
the atrocity, said the explosions would be "a major subject of
discussion" between the two leaders.
Bush, who is continuing a state visit to Britain, was to hold a
press conference with Blair at 12:15 GMT.
The two men were also to hold a working lunch.
Bush was preparing to leave Buckingham Palace - where he is staying
three nights as the guest of Queen Elizabeth II - to lay a wreath
at a war memorial at Westminster Abbey when news of the Istanbul
explosions came in.
During a four-minute ceremony, Bush presented a wreath that said
simply "In Remembrance" at the black Belgian marble tomb of an
unknown British soldier from World War I in memory of war dead who
are "lost but not forgotten".
Bush was also to meet yesterday with a small number of the families
of the more than 50 British soldiers killed since the March
invasion of Iraq and subsequent US and British occupation.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson declined to give details of the
private meeting for security reasons.
He said: "He is meeting a representative sample of families –
a cross-section of different services, ranks and causes of