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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Blair called to give Iraq evidence on January 29

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Jan 18, IRNA -- Former prime minister Tony Blair is to be questioned over his role in the Iraq war on January 29, it was announced Monday.

His evidence session comes after his former director of communications Alastair Campbell revealed last week that Blair gave former US president George Bush secret pledges about supporting military action months before the 2003 war.

"The tenor of them was that 'we share the analysis and share the concern'," Campbell told the Iraq inquiry about a series of unpublished private letters written in 2002 and which have only been seen by a handful of the former premier’s closest aides.

"We are absolutely with you in making Saddam face up to his obligations and making sure Iraq will be disarmed. But if that can't be done diplomatically, if it has to be done militarily, then Britain will definitely be there," he said.

Blair is also expected to be questioned about the legality of the joint US-UK invasion of Iraq two days after his attorney general Lord Goldsmith gives evidence to the inquiry on January 27.

Former cabinet secretary Lord Turnbull has already told the inquiry that Goldsmith “materially” changed his advice on the legality of military action against Saddam Hussein just days the war.

Turnbull said that there were important differences from the lengthy advice given in private to Blair and the shorter advice later given to the cabinet ministers.

Anti-war demonstrators are planning to picket the inquiry, being held at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, when Blair gives evidence, calling for the former premier to be put on trial for war crimes.

A YouGov poll in the Sunday Times over the weekend found that 52% of people believe Blair deliberately misled the country over the Iraq war and that 23% think he should be tried as a war criminal.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 905162



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