John McCain meets British PM for talks on Iraq

U.S. presidential candidate John McCain was meeting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Thursday to discuss Iraq, the world economy and climate change.

The visit to London was part of McCain's weeklong tour of Middle East and Europe, offering the Republican Party's likely presidential nominee a chance to burnish his credentials as a global statesman.

Traveling as part of a U.S. congressional delegation, McCain also planned to meet with Britain's opposition Conservative party leader, David Cameron, and Europe's environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas.

The delegation - including McCain supporters senators Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham - has visited Iraq, Jordan and Israel. Later Thursday, they planned to travel to Paris to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Britain has about 4,000 troops based at an airport camp outside Iraq's southern city of Basra, but hopes to cut the number to 2,500 within months.

On Tuesday, McCain told reporters that pulling out of Iraq quickly would be a mistake that would boost Iran and al-Qaida.

Brown's meeting Thursday would be his first with McCain. The British leader also has not met with Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama, but is a longtime friend of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and met with former U.S. President Bill Clinton during a visit to the United States in July.

McCain will meet Cameron at his House of Commons office. The Arizona senator addressed an annual rally of Cameron's Conservatives in 2006.

In a meeting with Dimas, McCain was expected to address U.S. climate change policy, European Commission spokeswoman Emilia Hinkkanen said.

"It will be an opportunity to exchange views on the upcoming negotiations on a global and comprehensive climate agreement," she said.

Dimas is attempting to win support from the three remaining major U.S. candidates for president for a plan to establish carbon trading in the U.S. to help cut carbon emissions.