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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 September, 2003, 19:20 GMT 20:20 UK
Iraq dominates UK-Spain talks
UK prime minister Tony Blair and Spanish leader Jose Maria Aznar
Mr Blair and Mr Aznar were close allies on Iraq
Talks between UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish leader Jose Maria Aznar were dominated by the issue of rebuilding Iraq.

The two leaders, who were allies going into the war, met at the prime minister's country retreat of Chequers for two hours on Sunday.

Downing Street described their exchanges as "positive and very constructive".

The men were discussing efforts to secure a new United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq.

A spokesman said they were looking forward to a conference of countries planning to help finance Iraq's reconstruction, due to be held in the Spanish capital Madrid in October.

Berlin talks

Downing Street said the talks also featured a re-evaluation of the Middle East peace process, and discussions on a range of European issues including the proposed European constitution.

Mr Blair has been in a round of talks with European leaders over the past few days.

On Saturday, he was in Germany patching up relations with France and Germany and seeking backing for the US-drafted resolution on Iraq.

America wants a greater role for the UN and a multinational peacekeeping force, while seeking to retain overall control.

President Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder arm in arm after a summit with Tony Blair

Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said "progress" had been made on the issue between himself, French President Jacques Chirac and the British leader.

France and Germany were strong opponents of the war on Iraq, while Mr Blair was US President George W Bush's closest ally.

The Berlin meeting was the first time the three leaders had met for trilateral talks since before the war.

On Monday, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw will fly to New York for a UN General Assembly meeting which will be dominated by arguments over post-war Iraq.

The BBC's Peter Biles
"The British and Spanish position remains unchanged"


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