BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: UK: Politics  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
 Sunday, 26 January, 2003, 09:19 GMT
Blair 'concerned' over Iraq doubts
Hans Blix and Tony Blair
Blair is not convinced Blix will find 'smoking gun'
Tony Blair is to redouble efforts to convince the British public of the need for action against Saddam Hussein amid concerns the UK and US are losing the propaganda battle over Iraq, according to reports.

A Cabinet minister is reported to have told the Sunday Telegraph: "We have to accept there's a battle for hearts and minds which we're not yet winning."

The paper says the British prime minister has ordered intelligence services to draw up a new dossier of evidence against the Iraqi regime.

Meanwhile, Mr Blair is believed to have dismissed the need for the United Nations weapons inspectors to turn up a "smoking gun" against Saddam.

The message needs to go out that we will not allow Saddam to lull the international community into a prolonged game of hide and seek

British minister

He is expected to argue that obstruction does constitute a breach of the UN resolution, whether the inspectors find anything more concrete or not, the Observer says.

The paper quotes Downing Street sources saying the Iraqi dictator's failure to co-operate with the inspectors would be enough to spark an attack.

The prime minister will appear on the BBC's Breakfast With Frost programme on Sunday in attempt to convince the doubting public.

A British minister told the Telegraph: "The message needs to go out that we will not allow Saddam to lull the international community into a prolonged game of hide and seek."

Bush summit

The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, will address business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum, in Switzerland, on Sunday.

Mr Powell arrived in the resort of Davos on Saturday and began diplomatic efforts to secure support for US policy on Iraq.

His efforts come ahead of an initial report by Hans Blix, the head of the inspection team, due to be presented to the UN on Monday.

It is expected to accuse the Iraqis of failure to co-operate but will not provide damning evidence of nuclear or bio-chemical weapons production.

The British government is expected to say the inspectors should be given more time to do their job but ministers agree with the US government that it should be "weeks, not months", according to the Telegraph.

Mr Blair and US president George W Bush discussed the Iraq campaign in a telephone call on Friday night .

A Downing Street spokesman said that during that conversation both leaders "agreed that Saddam Hussein has to be disarmed, that he has been offered a peaceful way to do that, and if he fails to comply, co-operate fully, and disarm his weapons of mass destruction, then he will have to be disarmed by force".

The pair will meet at Camp David next Friday.

Mr Blair is believed to have asked the intelligence services to reveal new and highly sensitive information to convince the public that Saddam poses a direct threat to the UK.

The most recent opinion poll shows only a third of Britons support war with Iraq, the Telegraph says.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Carolyn Quinn
"Tony Blair's message was that the UN's strength has to be shown"

Key stories

Analysis

CLICKABLE GUIDE

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

25 Jan 03 | Americas
15 Jan 03 | Middle East
16 Jan 03 | Scotland
15 Jan 03 | UK
17 Jan 03 | Middle East
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


 E-mail this story to a friend



© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes