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by RAY FLEMING
GORDON Brown travels to Washington tomorrow evening for a two-day visit during which he will hold talks with President Obama and others, and address a joint session of Congress. A great deal is being made of the fact that Mr Brown is the first European Union leader to be invited to the White House but of much greater importance is the substance of his meetings and the impression made by his speech. With President Obama Mr Brown will want to compare notes and co-ordinate policies for the important G20 summit meeting in London in early-April which will look forward to new structures for managing the global economy. The London meeting will be followed by the Nato summit in Strasbourg at which the alliance's future role in Afghanistan and relations with Russia will be under discussion. Broadly speaking, on economic and Nato issues Britain is closer to the United States than any other EU country even though Mr Obama will be hoping for an increase of British troops in Afghanistan. In his speech to Congress Mr Brown will have the difficult task of erasing memories of the last British prime minister to address this audience - Tony Blair in July 2003. Gordon Brown does not have the rhetorical flair of his predecessor but that does not mean he cannot impress Congress with the quality of his analysis of the global economic crisis and the similarity of Britain's and America's view of the measures that are necessary to overcome it.