PM to visit US for Iraq talks

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Prime Minister Tony Blair is to travel to Washington this week for talks with US President George Bush on international issues including Iraq.

The White House said the discussions would also include the situations in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

At Thursday's meeting the two leaders are also to discuss bringing peace to Darfur and promoting fair trade.

Mr Blair is expected to arrive on Wednesday, when a US report is published on future policy in Iraq.


A statement from the White House said the leaders would discuss "strengthening democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan" and "advancing peace and security in the Middle East".

The talks are also to include "preventing Iran from obtaining the means to build nuclear weapons, ending the genocide in Darfur, and promoting free and fair trade".

An independent report by the Iraq Study Group will urge direct US talks with Syria and Iran and endorse taking US troops out of combat in a gradual pullback, according to leaks.

The committee took evidence from Mr Blair last month.

A Downing Street spokesman said it was a "happy coincidence" the visit was taking place at the same time as publication of the report.