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'Unquestionable' Links Between al-Qaida, Iraq, says Blair - 2003-02-05

British Prime Minister Tony Blair says there are "unquestionably" links between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network. His statement came in response to a controversy over a report from the British Defense Ministry saying there is no such link.

The secret Defense Ministry intelligence document, leaked to the British media, reportedly concludes there is no link between Iraq and al-Qaida because of mistrust and ideological differences.

But in parliament, Prime Minister Blair said there is such a link, although questions remain about it. "On the one hand, we do not know of a link between Iraq and the 11th of September attack, but on the other hand, there are unquestionably links with Iraq," he said.

On the issue of weapons of mass destruction, the British leader was firmer. The prime minister said it is obvious that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has them and he is not giving them up.

Mr. Blair added that unless the United Nations acts to ensure that its will is upheld, the damage will be done not just to world security, but to the United Nations itself.