AFP: The White House announced Tuesday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair will meet on May 25 with US President George W. Bush, for talks on Iraq and several other strategic issues. WASHINGTON, May 23, 2006 (AFP) – The White House announced Tuesday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair will meet on May 25 with US President George W. Bush, for talks on Iraq and several other strategic issues.
In a statement, Bush’s chief spokesman Tony Snow said that Blair and Bush would address a “full range of issues on our strategic agenda.”
Those issues include “supporting the new Iraqi government, preventing Iran from acquiring the means to build nuclear weapons, bringing peace to the Middle East, ending the violence in Darfur, and promoting free trade,” the spokesman said.
“The United Kingdom is a key ally and a resolute partner of the United States in addressing these and other global challenges,” Snow said.
Thursday’s talks will follow a surprise trip Blair made to Baghdad on Monday aimed at showing his support for the newly-formed Iraqi government where he also discussed the presence of US and British troops in the country.
Asked on Monday whether the two leaders would discuss scaling back US and British forces in Iraq, Snow said allied troop movements there would depend on “conditions on the ground.”
“We’ve always said, and Prime Minister Blair reiterated this yesterday … it’s all conditions-based,” said Snow.
“The conditions on the ground still determine how long troops stay there,” the spokesman said.
During his visit to Baghdad, Blair said Britain, the main ally in the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, would work with the new Iraqi government “to make the hopes and expectations of the Iraqi people for the future a reality.”
He also voiced support for an international conference on Iraqi debt and reconstruction.
“Iraqi people are about to take charge of their own destiny and write the next chapter of Iraq history themselves,” said Blair.
“There is now no excuse for people to carry on with terrorism and bloodshed.”