Clinton, Major Try to Patch Up Ties

BRITISH Prime Minister John Major came to the United States this week seeking to reaffirm his country's special ties to America.

The prime minister met President Clinton here on Feb. 28, making a brief public appearance and dining with him, before flying on to Washington, D.C., for more discussions. Both leaders are eager to improve a bilateral relationship that has frayed in recent months.

They decided to meet in Pittsburgh because Mr. Major's grandfather worked in steel plants here. As the story goes, the pair was in Tokyo last summer when Major mentioned his Pittsburgh tie. The president invited him to celebrate his roots.

The two leaders said they are meeting to talk about their common interests in Bosnia, Russia, NATO, and free trade. They also want to put behind them the flap over Gerry Adams, Northern Ireland's Sinn Fein leader who was allowed to enter the US despite British objections.

But the summit revealed that the US may be looking beyond its special relationship with Britain.

``We're not as important as we think we are,'' said one British journalist accompanying Major.

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