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British PM Acknowledges War in Iraq is Disaster


British Prime Minister Tony Blair has acknowledged that the British-backed U.S.-led war in Iraq has been a "disaster."

Mr. Blair did not use that term in an interview with David Frost on the new al-Jazeera English-language TV channel Friday. However, when Frost suggested that the Iraq war has been a "disaster," Mr. Blair replied "it has."

The British prime minister quickly added that there is a deliberate strategy by militia and insurgent groups in Iraq to continue the war. He said this has made the situation there difficult.

The leader of Britain's third largest political party (The Liberal Democrats) demanded an apology from Mr. Blair. Menzies Campbell also criticized the Labor government's record in Iraq.

A spokesman for Mr. Blair said his comments were misrepresented. He said the prime minister often agrees with interviewers before he responds to questions.

British Finance Minister Gordon Brown made a surprise visit to the southern Iraqi city of Basra Saturday. This was Brown's first visit to the country.

He met with local leaders and British troops. He also pledged an extra $190 million to help rebuild the country.

Brown is expected to replace outgoing Prime Minister Blair when he steps down next year.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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