Blair stands by weapons evidence
EVIAN, France (CNN) -- UK Prime Minister Tony Blair says he stands "absolutely 100 percent" behind intelligence on weapons of mass destruction published before the war in Iraq.
Blair, speaking at a G-8 news conference in Evian, called accusations that intelligence information had been doctored "completely absurd."
"I stand absolutely 100 percent behind the evidence based on intelligence that we presented to people," he said.
Blair urged the public to be patient as the search for weapons continues.
"I think it would be useful if we waited until we actually got the full evidence before us," he said. "In the meantime, it's important that people don't make a judgment until they actually get what the experts uncover."
Last week, UK Defense Minister Adam Ingram denied allegations that the government had applied pressure on put pressure on the intelligence services to distort information about Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons program. (Full story)
However, Ingram said a comment by Blair before the war -- in which he said Iraq was capable of deploying weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes notice -- was based on a single source. The information "wasn't corroborated," Ingram added.
Monday in Evian, Blair told reporters: "The idea that we doctored intelligence reports in order to invent some notion about a 45-minute capability of delivering weapons of mass destruction, the idea that we doctored such intelligence is completely and totally false.
"Every single piece of intelligence that we presented was cleared very properly by the Joint Intelligence Committee.
Blair also dismissed as "completely and totally untrue" suggestions that he and U.S. President George W. Bush secretly agreed on an invasion of Iraq as early as last autumn.
The prime minister's comments came on the second day of the G-8 meeting that has so far been overshadowed by the fallout from disagreements -- especially between the summit host France and the United States -- over the war in Iraq. (Full story)
Earlier on Monday, Bush described a meeting with French President Jacques Chirac as "very helpful," and said he would ask Chirac's advice on the Middle East.
The disagreement between the U.S. and France on Iraq "does not mean we have to be disagreeable," Bush said.
The pair met at the G-8 summit of world leaders taking place in the French town of Evian.
G-8 nations are expected to discuss the dangers of weapons of mass destruction during day two of the summit.