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Bush told Blair about determination to invade Iraq: Report
March 27, 2006 12:24 IST
In the weeks before the United States-led invasion of Iraq, President George W Bush had made clear to British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he was determined to attack the country without a United Nations resolution and even if weapons of mass destruction were not found there, a media report Monday said.
The president made his view during a private two-hour meeting with Blair in the Oval office on January 31, 2003, The New York Times said citing a confidential British memorandum.
"Our diplomatic strategy had to be arranged around the military planning," David Manning, Blair's chief foreign policy advisor at the time, said in the memo.
"'The start date for the military campaign was now penciled in for 10 March,' Manning wrote, paraphrasing the president. 'This was when the bombing would begin'," the paper said.
Five days after the Bush-Blair meeting, Secretary of State Colin L Powell was scheduled to appear before the United Nations to present the American evidence that Iraq posed a threat to world security by hiding unconventional weapons.
Stamped "extremely sensitive", the five-page memorandum had not been made public, according to the report.
The document indicates the two leaders envisioned a quick victory and a transition to a new Iraqi government that would be complicated, but manageable, the paper said.
The memo also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq, it noted.