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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Bush denies dispute with Brown over Iraq

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, June 16, IRNA
UK-Bush Visit
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was holding talks Monday with US President George W Bush amid reports of a dispute over the withdrawal of UK troops from Iraq.

But speaking ahead of the meeting, Bush insisted that he was "appreciative" of his relationship with Brown "particularly" over Iraq.

"The worst thing allies can do is not communicate about our plan and our desires. We all want to take troops out of Iraq, and we are," he told Sky News.

During his farewell visit to London before he leaves office in January, the US president was greeted with customary anti-war protesters, who were banned from marching to the prime minister's office, where he was having dinner on Sunday night.

The protest, led by the Stop the War Coalition, turned violent when it was denied delivering a letter to Bush, resulting in some 25 demonstrators being arrested.

But the protest was dismissed by the US president, claiming that that public opinion had never been a guiding principle of his presidency and that "you can't lead in this world if you chase something as temporary as a popularity poll."

"I want it to be said about George W Bush that, when he finished his presidency, he looked in the mirror and [saw] a man who did not compromise his core principles for the sake of politics or the Gallup poll," he said.

The majority of the British press Monday joined in feeling relieved at bidding a "good riddance" to the belligerent US president after eight years.

"His farewell tour of Europe is no time for nostalgia and any softening of views. He has been one of the worst American Presidents in history. His shameful legacy can be summed up in just one word:
Iraq," the Mirror said.

"The mere prospect of Mr Bush's departure is enough to lift spirits," the Guardian said.

"The list of Mr Bush's foreign policy failures is long. But just as inglorious is the way most European nations cloned his policies." One of the few dailies struggling to say a good word for the outgoing US president was the right-wing Daily Telegraph.

"He might not have been the easiest of allies, but an ally he has been."

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