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Blair Warns Iraq Ties with Al Qaeda Are Growing

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Friday there were growing links between Baghdad and al Qaeda, and warned of dire consequences if the world did not swiftly disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Speaking after talks with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Blair said international resolve to rid Iraq of its weapons arsenal remained strong despite high-profile rows within Europe over the prospect of war. “If you leave Saddam Hussein with his chemical, biological and potentially nuclear weapons, the link between that and international terrorism is so obvious that it hardly needs to be stated,” a gritty Blair told reporters. “We have been trying to avoid war, but in the end I can’t avoid it unless Saddam chooses the route of peaceful disarmament,” he said, standing alongside Berlusconi. Baghdad denies having weapons of mass destruction. Blair warned that “misery and death” awaited ordinary Iraqis if Saddam was allowed to keep his alleged weapons stockpile, while Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda group was also eager to get its hands on the arsenal, he said. Full Story

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