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Blair Defends British Foreign Policy in Address to Labour Party


British Prime Minister Tony Blair has delivered a strong defense of his foreign policy, including his support for the Iraq war, in his last address to his Labour Party before leaving office within the next year.

Mr. Blair told party members Tuesday that the terrorism threat facing Britain will last for a generation or longer. He said the battle against extremism will not be won until Britons ignore the enemy propaganda that says "somehow we are the ones responsible."

Delegates to the conference in Manchester cheered repeatedly as Mr. Blair thanked the party for its support during his third and last term as prime minister. He announced earlier this month he will leave office in the next 12 months. But he refused to set a date.

Mr. Blair's public support has diminished over his backing for the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and for his Middle East policies.

Recent opinion polls show the opposition conservatives leading in the race for prime minister.

The build-up to the Labour conference was overshadowed by infighting between supporters of Mr. Blair and treasury chief Gordon Brown.

Brown addressed the party Monday, saying he will maintain Mr. Blair's policies of appealing to moderate Britons if he takes over as Labour leader. The finance chief also said he would continue Britain's struggle against terrorism.

Britain's next general election is due by May 2010 at the latest.

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