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Bush to Host Blair For Mideast Talks


President Bush will meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair next Friday in Washington for talks on the Middle East crisis.

The White House says the two leaders will discuss efforts to secure "a lasting peace" in the region. They will also talk about the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as efforts to stop the violence in Sudan's Darfur region.

Also on the agenda will be Iran's nuclear ambitions and ways to stop Tehran from getting the technology to build nuclear weapons. The two men will also discuss ways to promote free and fair trade.

The White House announcement of the visit Friday, noted that the United States "has no closer ally and partner than the United Kingdom."

Mr. Blair's support for Mr. Bush's policies, especially on Iraq, have prompted a backlash from critics in Britain.

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