After talks on the Iraq war with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, U.S. President George W. Bush said they both appreciate the bravery and professionalism of all the coalition forces – who he said would fight “however long it takes” to disarm Iraq.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
“Together coalition forces are advancing day by day in steady progress against the enemy. Slowly but surely the grip of terror around the throats of the Iraqi people is being loosened.”
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER
“Just under a week into this conflict, let me restate our complete and total resolve. Saddam Hussein and his hateful regime will be removed from power. Iraq will be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction. And the Iraqi people will be free. That is our commitment; that is our determination; and we will see it done.”
At a joint news conference after their talks, the two leaders also looked beyond the current conflict – to humanitarian relief and post-war reconstruction. Mr. Blair has called for the United Nations to play a strong role in the administration of a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. But he said the focus right now is on resuming the UN “Oil-for-Food” program – which Mr. Bush said needs to be done immediately.
GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT
“More than half the Iraqi people depend on this program as their sole source of food. This urgent humanitarian issue must not be politicized, and the Security Council should give Secretary General Annan the authority to start getting food supplies to those most in need of assistance.”
Prime Minister Blair is also meeting with Secretary General Kofi Annan at the UN in New York this afternoon – to discuss that.