Bush, Blair: Defeat this menace
Bush and Blair were united on their determination to fight terrorism and to stay in Iraq until "the job is done."
President Bush on another attempt by terrorists 'to intimidate and demoralize.'
Tony Blair vows 'no holding back' in 'confronting this menace.'
|BUSH'S UK ITINERARY|
Thursday, November 20
Holds talks with Blair.
Co-hosts roundtable discussion on HIV/AIDS with Blair
Hosts reciprocal dinner for the queen.Friday, November 21
Travels to Blair's northern England constituency of Sedgefield before returning to Washington.
LONDON, England (CNN) -- U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have condemned explosions in Turkey, saying they will step up the fight against terrorism and stay in Iraq "until the job is done."
"Once again, we must affirm that in the face of this terrorism there must be no holding back, no compromise, no hesitation in confronting this menace, in attacking it wherever and whenever we can, and in defeating it utterly," Blair told reporters in London after talks with the visiting Bush.
"It should not lessen, incidentally, in any way at all our commitment to Iraq.
"On the contrary, it shows how important it is to carry on until terrorism is defeated there as well. Because it is in a free, democratic and stable Iraq that not just the violence but the wretched and backward philosophy of these terrorists will be defeated and destroyed," Blair said.
Bush, too, condemned the attacks in Turkey and vowed that the United States would remain steadfast in its efforts to secure Iraq.
"Today, once again, we saw their ambitions of murder. The cruelty is part of their strategy. The terrorists hope to intimidate. They hope to demoralize. They particularly want to intimidate and demoralize the free nations.
"They're not going to succeed. Great Britain, America and other free nations are united today in our grief and united in our determination to fight and defeat this evil wherever it is found."
Bush was asked how -- given the unstable situation in Iraq -- the U.S. expected to begin pulling its troops out next year.
Bush said: "I've said that we're going to bring our troops home starting next year. What I've said is that we'll match the security needs with the number of troops necessary to secure Iraq. And we're relying upon our commanders on the ground to make those decisions.
"We could have less troops in Iraq. We could have the same number of troops in Iraq. We could have more troops in Iraq. Whatever is necessary to secure Iraq."
But a few moments later, Bush went back to the question to add that the readiness of Iraqi brigades will affect the U.S. decision on how many troops are needed.
"So part of the answer to your question is how fast the new brigades of Iraqi army are stood up, how effective they are," said Bush.
Asked about the thousands of protesters who have gathered to protest his visit to Britain, Bush said, as he has before, "I love freedom."
But Blair said the protesters should also "listen to our case as well.
"What caused the blasts today in Turkey is not the president of the United States or the alliance. Our response is to unify in that situation and put the responsibility clearly on those who are killing innocent people, and we are not going back down or flinch at all."
On other issues, Blair and Bush said they had discussed the fate of nine British citizens being held at a U.S. prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Both said the British citizens would either be handled by a court set up at Guantanamo or returned to Britain to face the courts there. "This is not going to be resolved today, but soon," said Blair.
Bush said the British being held were "illegal non-combatants picked up off a battlefield." He said the U.S. was "sorting through them on a case-by-case basis" and added they would be "tried in a fair fashion."
The two said they had also discussed free trade, particularly import restrictions Washington had imposed on steel, but neither indicated any resolution was near.
Bush acknowledged that Blair had now brought up the steel issue three times. He said he remained committed to free trade but there had to be a "level playing field" for that to occur.