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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UK made US pledge to limit Iraq inquiry, WikiLeaks reveal

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Dec 1, IRNA -- The British government promised to protect America's interests ahead of last year’s opening of the inquiry into the Iraq war, according to a secret cable sent from the US embassy in London.

The Ministry of Defence's director general for security policy, Jon Day, told US under-secretary of state Ellen Tauscher that the UK had 'put measures in place to protect your interests during the UK inquiry into the causes of the Iraq war'.

The disclosure is among the latest extracts published from more than quarter of a million cables sent from US embassies and consulates around the world in the biggest leak of diplomatic secrets in the history of international relations obtained by Wikileaks.

No mention is made of how American interests were protected, but no US officials were called to give evidence in public to the inquiry. During a visit to the US, panel members heard evidence from American officials in private.

The inquiry has also refused permission to publish letters between former US president George Bush and former British prime minister Tony Blair written in 2002 in the run-up to the war, even though they were referred to in evidence.

The leaked cable dated September 22 last year records a series of high-level meetings between Tauscher and UK defence officials and diplomats, including former foreign secretary, David Miliband.

The Times newspaper focusing on the latest revelation suggested that the pledge to the US could undermine the Iraq inquiry, which is due to publish its findings early next year.

Stop the War Coalition (STWC) said the secret cable showed the beginning of the cover-up after previously warning that the findings, supposedly to learn lessons, would be nothing more than a “whitewash.”

'This really brings the whole inquiry into disrepute,' said STWC spokesman Andrew Burgin. 'Those involved in this cover-up must be held to account. The implications are so serious that there may need to be a new inquiry.'

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