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Last Updated: Friday, 2 June 2006, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Tony Blair meets Prodi in Italy
Romano Prodi and Tony Blair
Blair and Prodi spoke for two hours
The UK prime minister Tony Blair has held talks with the new Italian prime minister, Romano Prodi, in Rome.

The two men spent an hour discussing a variety of things, including the withdrawal of Italian troops from Iraq.

A Downing Street spokesman said they also agreed there was an opportunity for EU reform within the current "pause for reflection" over the constitution.

It marked the end of Mr Blair's holiday in Italy, although he had been briefed about the terror raid in London.

Home Secretary John Reid had called the prime minister on the last night of his holiday.

Advisors travelling with Mr Blair said he had been given a full briefing on Thursday night about the intelligence gathered, ahead of Friday's raid by 250 officers.

Iran crisis

Mr Reid updated him again before his lunch with the new Italian prime minister.

The Italians currently have 2,600 troops in Nasariyah but that number will be reduced to 1,600 this month and the rest will be pulled out by the end of the year.

Diplomatic sources told the BBC Mr Blair was keen to know whether the timescale for the withdrawal would give multinational forces enough time to train up Iraqi replacements.

Mr Prodi said the withdrawal would be done in consultation with the Iraqi and British governments.

They also talked about the growing crisis in Iran and the Middle East peace process.

On Europe they discussed the need to develop common goals on energy research and immigration.

The UK prime minister was a key supporter of Mr Prodi's bid to become European Commission president in 1999.

But their relationship has soured over the years over the way Mr Prodi ran the commission and over the war in Iraq.

Mr Prodi, who took charge of a centre-left coalition on May 17, has indicated Italy's priorities will now lie closer to Europe than America.




SEE ALSO:
Bush and Blair admit Iraq errors
26 May 06 |  Americas
Italy approves Prodi government
23 May 06 |  Europe
Prodi calls for Iraq withdrawal
18 May 06 |  Europe


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