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British PM Urges Labor Party to Discuss Public's Concerns, not Internal Politics

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is urging the ruling Labor Party to focus on the public's concerns rather than internal politics.

Mr. Blair told BBC television Sunday he wants party members to tackle public policy issues, such as immigration, during the Labor Party's annual conference in Manchester this week.

Throughout the conference, political observers will be looking for hints of when exactly Mr. Blair will step down. But the prime minister Sunday declined to say when he will go.

After three terms in office, Mr. Blair has pledged to resign within a year to resolve an internal Labor Party dispute.

At least ten thousand protesters rallied in Manchester Saturday, calling for Mr. Blair's immediate resignation.

They also criticized British foreign policy and the country's involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rally speakers included Mr. Blair's sister-in-law, veteran peace activists and former members of his government. Families of British troops killed in Iraq, Muslim organizations and unions also joined the events.

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