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|Blair to Call for Closer US/Europe Ties|
- PM addresses Congress under Iraq fall-out cloud
TONY BLAIR is to call for greater cooperation between Europe and the USA when he makes a speech to the US Congress today.
But while such exhortations are likely to earn the Prime Minster a warm welcome in Washington, there is unlikely to be much respite for Blair on two key issues that have arisen out the the Iraq War.
The first is the continuing fiasco over the so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction which both the US and Britain used as their prime justification for invading Iraq. In the three months since blasting their way to power in the oil-rich Arab state, no such weapons have been found.
Worse is the fall out that has descended on both leaders over bogus claims of an Iraqi nuclear weapons programme. Independent experts have lambasted such claims. Bush has effectively blamed Britain's intelligence services for using forged papers to concoct a case, while Blair has stood by his spy team and still appears to believe in the existence of an Iraqi nuclear capability.
The second issue is over the treatment of British prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. The US has so far declined to release the two prisoners in question, but Blair is under pressure to call for them to be handed over, especially since the pair face the death penalty under US law.