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EDITIONS
Saturday, 7 September, 2002, 02:53 GMT 03:53 UK
Blair and Bush set for Iraq talks
Blair and Bush
Blair and Bush will hold talks at Camp David
Tony Blair is preparing to fly to the US for talks with President George Bush aimed at forging an international coalition for possible military action against Iraq.

The prime minister will travel to the US president's retreat, Camp David, to discuss what can be done to stop Saddam Hussein's regime from developing and using weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Blair has made it clear that Britain will stand by the US in tackling Saddam Hussein, while Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has said that military action should not be ruled out.

The prime minister has promised to publish a dossier of evidence in a few weeks' time, which he says will show that Iraq has biological and chemical weapons and the potential for a nuclear capability.

On Friday Mr Blair and Mr Bush spoke to the other members of the United Nations Security Council - and it is likely that they will be looking at the possibility of a new UN resolution against Iraq.

Stability

While Mr Blair and Mr Bush insist the meeting will not be a council of war, they will almost certainly look at a series of steps which could end in military action.


It would be wildly irresponsible to argue that patience with Iraq should be unlimited

Jack Straw
But their Security Council colleagues - Russia, China and France - have raised doubts about the legal implications of going to war against Iraq and the effect it could have on stability in the Middle East.

The meeting between Mr Blair and Mr Bush will test just how open George Bush is to working through the UN and to giving diplomacy one last chance.

They could decide to ask the UN to pass a resolution putting the onus firmly on Iraq, to prove that it was not developing weapons of mass destruction.

The results may emerge in President Bush's address next week to the UN General Assembly - a year and a day after the attacks which triggered the war on terror.

Tony Blair will be in the US for just a few hours, but his foreign and defence secretaries will spend most of next week there.

Sanctions

Speaking after 100 British and US planes joined an attack on an air base in western Iraq, Mr Straw said that the world must be prepared to use sanctions or even force to avoid a repeat of last year's terror attacks.

Mr Straw said: "In his single-minded pursuit of an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein has undermined global security - and flouted international law - for over a decade.

"Until Saddam cooperates fully with UN weapons inspectors, we have no guarantees that a dictator who has previously shown no restraint in using weapons of mass destruction will not use them again.

"In these circumstances it would be wildly irresponsible to argue that patience with Iraq should be unlimited, or that military action should not be an option."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Robinson
"These two men have forged an unlikely partnership"
The BBC's Reeta Chakrabarti
"Tony Blair sees it as Britain's role to be alongside America"

Main stories

Background

Analysis

IN PICTURES

TALKING POINT

FORUM

THE IRAQ DOSSIER
See also:

07 Sep 02 | Middle East
06 Sep 02 | Middle East
05 Sep 02 | Americas
29 Aug 02 | Politics
07 Sep 02 | Media reports

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