Bush and Blair to meet on action against Iraq


British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush will meet in April to finalize details of military action against Iraq, according to a Sunday newspaper report.

The Observer

"The meeting will be to finalize Phase Two of the war against terrorism," the Observer quoted a senior Downing Street official as saying. "Action against Iraq will be at the top of the agenda."

Iraq, identified by President Bush as belonging to an "axis of evil" in a speech earlier this month, has refused to allow United Nations weapons inspectors into the country since 1998.

But public and political opinion in Britain has started to turn against US action on Iraq.

The British government was planning to publish evidence detailing Iraq's nuclear capabilities to quell criticism from its backbenches and to reassure the public.

The document will reveal that Saddam is attempting to amass rudimentary nuclear capabilities and is also investigating a way to launch "dirty" nuclear bombs - unsophisticated devices that would nevertheless cause havoc if used, the paper said.

The Downing Street source told the paper that it was a "public persuasion" issue that was necessary to maintain support for military action against Iraq.