Blair and Bush stand behind decision to go to war

Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush have stood firm in their decision to go to war, amid continued questions over the reliability of key intelligence claims about Saddam Hussein's military capabilities.

The Prime Minister was in Washington on Thursday to deliver a key address to US Congress, in which he described Saddam Hussein as responsible for "inhuman carnage and suffering". He went on to state his belief that history would perceive the removal of the Iraqi premier as a positive move, even if firm evidence of weapons of mass destruction ultimately proved elusive.

Speaking after the address, President Bush said he was assured that the decision to invade Iraq had been based on sound reasons. He added: "Saddam Hussein produced and possessed chemical and biological weapons, and was trying to reconstitute his nuclear weapons programme. We won't be proven wrong."

Tony Blair is now flying to Japan, where he will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, in the first part of a visit that will see Mr Blair travel on to China, Hong Kong and South Korea. The issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons programme is set to be high on the agenda, as numerous countries in the region have expressed concern over North Korea's development of weapons-grade plutonium.


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