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Blair vows to publish Iraq dossier

Tonly Blair
Blair: Saddam is a threat that needs to be dealt with  

SEDGEFIELD, England (CNN) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair has vowed to publish within the next few weeks a dossier revealing intelligence on Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

Blair, speaking at a press conference in his constituency in Sedgefield, Durham, said: "Saddam is a real and unique threat to his region and the rest of the world that needs to be dealt with."

He said Saddam was continuing his efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction in defiance of U.N. resolutions, adding that how that threat should be dealt with had yet to be decided -- but that the issue did have to be addressed.

Asked why the dossier of evidence had not been published yet, Blair replied: "Whatever timelines we've been working on as leaders ... it is clear that the debate has moved on.

Blair signals support of the U.S.: CNN's Marie-Helene Verney reports (September 3)

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Where Europe and the Mideast stand on Iraq 

"Originally I had the intention that we wouldn't get round to publishing the dossier until we had actually taken the key decisions, but I think probably it's a better idea to bring that forward."

He added: "A lot of the work has already been done. There needs to be some more work and some more checking done, but I think probably the best thing to do is publish that within the next few weeks."

"I think that when that happens people will see that there is no doubt at all, the United Nations resolutions that he stands in breach of are there for a purpose."

Saddam Hussein was "without any question" still trying to develop Iraq's chemical, biological and potential nuclear capability. To allow him to do so without any hindrance would be "irresponsible".

Bush, Blair
Tony Blair has been President Bush's staunchest supporter for an attack on Iraq  

Blair faced a barrage of questions from reporters over Iraq. The prime minister has not ruled out an attack to oust Hussein, and he has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks to justify his position.

A series of opinion polls have showed that the British public are opposed to the move.

Blair said he believed it would be a good idea for the government to publish its data on Hussein's programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction in the next few weeks

He added: "I do believe that the threat posed by the current Iraqi regime is real, I believe that it is in the UK's national interest that this is addressed, just as dealing with the terrorists after September 11 was in our national interest even though the actual terrorist act took place thousands of miles away on the streets of New York, not in London.

"This isn't just an issue for the U.S., it is an issue for Britain, it is an issue for the wider world. America shouldn't have to face this issue alone, we should face it together."




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