British prime minister to discuss Iraq options with Bush

(AFP) - Prime Minister Tony Blair travels to Washington on Wednesday for talks with US President George W. Bush, just as an eagerly-awaited report on options for violence-scarred Iraq is published.

Blair, Bush's main ally in the Iraq conflict, will meet with the president at the White House on Thursday during a flying visit that is likely to be dominated by release of the Iraq Study Group's findings, reports Trend.

The West's simmering nuclear stand-off with Iran and latest developments in the stalled Middle East peace process are also expected to be high on the agenda of the talks.

The Iraq group, co-chaired by former US secretary of state James Baker, is expected to urge direct US talks with Syria and Iran and endorse taking US troops out of combat in a gradual pull-back, according to leaks.

Its crunch report -- to be published Wednesday -- comes in the wake of US mid-term elections in which Bush's Republican Party lost control of Congress, triggering the resignation of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Blair's spokesman said it was a "happy coincidence" that Blair was travelling to Washington on the day the report is published.

He sought to downplay suggestions that the talks will be dominated by the report, refusing to be drawn on the subject beyond noting that Blair had spoken to the Baker committee about Iraq during its consultation period.

The "report is an independent report and therefore it's a matter for them (the Americans) to talk about," he said, adding: "The prime minister did give evidence last month and we briefed on the evidence at the time."

Both Blair and Bush have faced a growing wave of opposition and calls for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq, which US and British troops invaded in March 2003, overthrowing president Saddam Hussein.

Bush last week dismissed speculation that he was planning a pull-out. "This business about a graceful exit just simply has no realism to it whatsoever," he said after talks in Jordan with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

But Blair's government -- which has some 7,100 troops in southern Iraq -- said recently it hopes to hand over control to Iraqi forces early next year, planning to have thousands of its troops out of the country by the end of 2007.

The British leader, who angered many of his European counterparts by backing Washington over the war in Iraq, will clearly need to coordinate any change of strategy now with Bush.

The Washington trip could also be an opportunity to try to influence US strategic thinking before any decisions are taken -- which critics accused Blair of failing to do three years ago.

Potential points of difference between the two men could centre on Syria and Iran: Blair recently offered Tehran a partnership, albeit on condition, while Bush still sees the Islamic state as part of an axis of evil.

Bush and Blair are both seen by critics as lame duck leaders: Blair has been forced to pledge to leave office next year, while Bush faces his last two years in the White House in constant battle with Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Blair will also hold talks with leading congressmen during his brief trip to Washington.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Weekly review of major events in Azerbaijani energy market
Weekly review of major events in Azerbaijani energy market
SOFAZ increases volume of foreign currency sold at auctions
SOFAZ increases volume of foreign currency sold at auctions
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Loading Bars
Latest
Winners of Azerbaijan and Baku Championships in Trampoline and Tumbling awarded (PHOTO)
Winners of Azerbaijan and Baku Championships in Trampoline and Tumbling among juniors, adults - award ceremony (PHOTO)
Сeremony of awarding prejunior, adult winners of Azerbaijan and Baku Championships in Trampoline and Tumbling (PHOTO)
Searches for missing Azerbaijani serviceman in Kalbajar district continue - MoD
Mutual steps between Iran, Kazakhstan can help increase trade turnover - official
Happy to take first place at Azerbaijan Championship in Tumbling - young Azerbaijani athlete
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 29
State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan opens tender
Azerbaijan Entrepreneurship Dev't Fund talks soft loans for agriculture
Azerbaijan holds award ceremony of winners of Azerbaijan and Baku Championships in Trampoline and Tumbling (PHOTO)
Kyrgyz ambassador talks visit of Azerbaijani delegation to Bishkek
Azerbaijan records revenue increase to state budget revenues via State Customs Committee
Kuwait Airways suspends flights to Iraq
Weekly review of major events in Azerbaijani energy market
Another passenger bus from Baku arrives in Azerbaijan’s liberated Shusha (PHOTO)
Russian IT company names most cyberattacked industries in 4Q2021
Azerbaijan, Iran could increase revenues in transport sector – former ambassador
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
SOFAZ increases volume of foreign currency sold at auctions
Turkmenistan’s Daikhanbank opens tender for audit
Russia records another 113,122 coronavirus cases
Azerbaijan and Baku Championships in Trampoline and Tumbling kick off (PHOTO)
Uzbekneftegaz JSC shares estimated data on exports for 2022
Goldman Sachs lifts CEO Solomon's pay to $35 million
Iran boost exports via Bilasuvar border checkpoint
Kazakhstan extends validity of VAT offset method
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Construction of Zangilan, Lachin airports in Azerbaijan's Karabakh to positively impact tourism dev't - official
Georgia eyes to create digital national currency
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenbashi bank opens tender for audit
Azerbaijan announces launch of new multi-brand car service center - Motor House (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Turkmen-Turkish bank opens tender for audit
Russian Rosselkhoznadzor reveals volume of products supplied to Uzbekistan
Construction of Rasht-Astara railway is biggest factor in activating North-South Corridor - minister
Georgia reports new record high COVID-19 cases
Uzbek National Bank signs loan agreement with AIIB
Iranian companies to start work on specific projects in Azerbaijan's Karabakh - MFA
Indian sailors on vessel seized by Houthis are safe, govt working for their release: MEA
Iran's Saipa records rise in car manufacturing
Turkmenistan approves hydrogen energy development roadmap
AFD, ADB support Georgia’s water supply reform
Iran Khordo sees decrease in car manufacturing
Azerbaijan's Azersu purchases vehicles, special equipment for servicing settlements in Karabakh region (PHOTO)
Turkmengaz and China’s CNPC to revise financing terms for Galkynysh gas field
Iranian currency rates for January 29
Apple's stock racks up biggest one-day gain since July 2020
Azerbaijan shares mine clearance plans in Karabakh region
Azerbaijan ready to supply more gas to Europe in case of emergency – envoy
Erdogan appoints Bekir Bozdag as Justice Minister
Another passenger bus leaves Baku for Shusha (PHOTO/VIDEO)
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney tests positive for COVID-19
Spain's economy grows by 5 pct in 2021: INE
British PM Johnson eyes Japan visit in Feb.
Turkey's daily COVID-19 caseload hits new high of 93,586
U.S. FAA says Verizon, AT&T can turn on more towers for 5G deployment
Belgium's total COVID-19 infections exceed 3 mln
Biden says he'll send troops to eastern Europe in ‘near term'
U.S. airlines cancel almost 5,000 flights ahead of Nor'easter
Argentina announces debt agreement with IMF
Canada's COVID-19 cases surpass 3 mln
Fake news, disinformation on COVID, is human rights violation: Pope Francis
Tunisia thwarts alleged terrorist attack targeting tourist areas
Turkey welcomes Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan ceasefire
UN chief calls for observing Olympic Truce
UN thanks Azerbaijan for contributions to budget of organization
Residents of Bina settlement express gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva for establishment of Training and Service Complex (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Russia expands retaliatory list of EU representatives banned from entering country — MFA
Ten injured after bridge collapses in U.S. city Pittsburgh
Iran deal talks are adjourned until next week — EU
Erdogan to visit Ukraine on Feb 3 as part of mediation efforts
Germany's exports to UK continue to decline in 2021: Destatis
Azerbaijan's Agency for State Support to NGOs, Turkey's Ministry of Interior sign memorandum of co-op (PHOTO)
Embassy of India organised Blood Donation Drive (PHOTO)
Tractor hits mine in Azerbaijan's Fuzuli district
Uzbek Central Bank notes growth in volume of loans issued to individuals
Uzbekistan shares data on loan portfolio of its banks for 2021
Russian veterans urge to check Union of Armenians in Russia regarding film about Garegin Nzhdeh
Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan reveals revenue data from communication and information services
Remains of Armenian soldier found in Azerbaijan's Fuzuli district
GDP of Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan growing
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 3,564 more COVID-19 cases, 1,004 recoveries
Russia allocates credit line for construction of Iran`s Sirik power plant - minister
National Bank of Georgia to adopt regulations for cryptocurrency trading platforms
Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan discloses loans issued to population
Azerbaijan Entrepreneurship Development Fund to help businesses create corporate governance mechanisms
German RBC consulting company talks achievements in work on Azerbaijani market
Kazakh president calls on Nur Otan party members to focus on some priorities
Iran Oil Industry Pension Fund eyes to invest in oil and energy sectors
Uzbek UzAuto Motors to generate higher revenue in 2022
Azerbaijan’s Buta Airways becomes most active passenger carrier in Georgia
Kazakhstan-based Nostrum unveils oil production indicators for 2021
Turkmenistan assisting in delivery of Turkish humanitarian aid to Afghanistan
Azerbaijan to increase number of bus routes to Karabakh (Exclusive)
Azerbaijan discloses number of passengers of regular bus trips to liberated Shusha, Aghdam
President Ilham Aliyev congratulates president of Kazakhstan on election as chairman of Nur Otan party
Uzbekistan proposes India to develop co-op in healthcare, education and IT
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signs order on 30th anniversary of Khojaly genocide
Israel signs deal with Novavax for COVID vaccine
Azerbaijan's ANAMA builds new mobile field camp in Aghdam district (PHOTO)
All news