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Blair Holds Talks with Iraqi President in London

11 May 2007

A day after Tony Blair told Britain that he would be stepping down from office in June 27, the prime minister met Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in London. For VOA, Tom Rivers has details.

The most important factor that will define the legacy of British Prime Minister Tony Blair's decade-long premiership will be Iraq.

Repeated polls show that the majority here believes it was wrong for Britain to get involved.

On Thursday, Blair acknowledged he may have gotten some things wrong while in office, but he added it would be for others to decide.

The prime minister was asked at a joint news conference Friday if he had any regrets about the issue.

"People can debate over the years what may have happened differently but you know, you only have to talk to someone like President Talabani to realize what Iraq was like under Saddam and his sons and realize how important it is that it is able to have a different future," said Blair.

"And if these terrorists try to stop them having that future, our job is to be with him and to fight the terrorism," he continued.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani thanked Blair for the British involvement in his country and he blamed the media for dwelling on negative images of his country that he says has swayed public opinion in Britain.

"It is something normal that when British boys and girls are killed in Iraq that we are very sorry for this that also people here who feel that what Iraqi[s] are doing they need to show them some tangible achievements, which we are now doing," he said.

"I hope within coming weeks and month we are able to show the public opinion of Great Britain that our and you were on the right direction and we are now getting the right results of what you have done," he added.

The Talabani visit has come at the end of another week of deadly attacks in Iraq, including a bombing in Irbil, the normally peaceful capital of the country's self-governing Kurdish region.

Critics says attacks like that only serve as a reminder that no corner of Iraq is immune from the bloodshed.

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