Sunday, December 28, 2003

US rejects Blair's Iraq claims

The top US official in Iraq has rejected claims be Prime Minister Tony Blair that evidence of hidden weapons laboratories have been unearthed in Iraq.

[Blair] said the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) had unearthed "massive evidence of a huge system of clandestine laboratories".

It showed Saddam Hussein had attempted to "conceal weapons", he told British forces, including thousands serving in the Gulf.

But that was not true, said Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, who did not realise Mr Blair had made the claim when it was put to him.

In fact, he said it sounded like a "red herring" put about by someone opposed to military action to undermine the coalition.

"I don't know where those words come from but that is not what (ISG chief) David Kay has said," he told ITV1's Jonathan Dimbleby programme.

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