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EDITIONS
Friday, 8 November, 2002, 17:25 GMT
Blair gets his deal
Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George Bush
A big success for Blair and Bush

If the unanimous adoption of a UN resolution on Iraq is a triumph for George Bush, it is also a cause for huge satisfaction at Downing Street.

In essence, Tony Blair has got just what he wanted.

In public, the prime minister has been unequivocal in his support for the US president. In private he is said to have being pressing President Bush to ensure he had the UN behind him on Iraq.

That reflected the fear among many in his party that military action against Iraq would go ahead without UN support.

Opinion polls in the UK reflected similar concerns. With the government so supportive of the US, such a move could have had grave consequences for Mr Blair.

UN Security Council resolution 1441 removes that fear.

Some in his party will remain concerned about the prospect of war.

Triumph

But to the waverers, the people Tony Blair was trying to reach when he published his dossier of evidence on Iraq, he will be able to point to unanimous backing in the UN.

For many, the backing of the UN and the assurance that force will be a last resort may be enough to bring them behind the prime minister.

The resolution is also a triumph for UK diplomacy.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell says he only broke off the almost non-stop diplomacy of the last few weeks for his daughter's wedding.

The UK effort may not have been quite as all-consuming. But it has certainly been intense.

Smile

France, Russia and Syria are all on board when a few weeks ago it seemed unlikely that such an outcome was possible.

The UK can take some credit for that.

Mr Bush wore a broad smile as he emerged from the White House on Friday, and Tony Blair will be just as happy.

After all, it is only a matter of weeks since some hawks in the US were sneering at the merits of weapons inspectors amid talk of opposition between the prime minister and Mr Bush.

The prime minister will still face opposition at home, whatever happens in the next few weeks. But it could have been much, much worse.


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IN PICTURES

TALKING POINT

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THE IRAQ DOSSIER
See also:

08 Nov 02 | Politics
08 Nov 02 | Middle East
08 Nov 02 | Middle East
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