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Friday, 23 February, 2001, 13:19 GMT
Blair pledges 'to contain' Iraq
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he will use "whatever means are necessary" to prevent Saddam Hussein from developing weapons of mass destruction.
Mr Blair was speaking just hours before he is due to hold his first face to face meeting with President George W Bush - the first European leader to do so since he took office.
The prime minister added that the "special relationship" between the UK and the US was important.
"The UK-US relationship is one of huge strategic importance," he said.
"We share the same values. We share the same interests."
Mr Blair defended last week's much criticised strikes on sites near Baghdad.
"He still wants to develop weapons of mass destruction. We have to stop him by whatever means are necessary."
Asked about US plans to develop a ballistic missile defence shield - dubbed "Son of Star Wars" - Mr Blair remained non-committal.
He is expected to tell Mr Bush that he will need to hear full details of the project before he can decide whether to allow British-based tracking systems to be used.
The Conservative Party has already pledged unconditional support for the project.
However, he said it was "right and sensible" that proposals for improving defence were discussed.
Both Iraq and the missile defence shield are expected to feature high on the agenda when Mr Blair meets Mr Bush later on Friday. The planned European defence force is also likely to be discussed.
The White House has billed the meeting as "informal" and a chance for the two leaders to get to know each other.
Both leaders will also be keen to show that the "special relationship" between the UK and US will continue, after speculation that it would weaken as a result of Mr Bush's election.
"I am anxious to meet the prime minister...Britain and the United States have got a special relationship. We'll keep it that way," Mr Bush told reporters on Thursday.
The president's senior foreign policy adviser, Condoleezza Rice, said Friday's meeting would help both men to get to know each other.
"The purpose of this meeting is to do face to face what you cannot do on the telephone - which is really to get to know somebody, to spend some time in both discussions about issues, but also in an informal setting with family."
Describing it as more of an informal working meeting than an official summit, she said "massive new agreements" should not be expected.