Skip to main content
The Web      Powered by
powered by Yahoo!

Bush welcomes ally Blair to White House

War in Iraq, Middle East peace process under discussion

President Bush welcomes British Prime Minister Tony Blair to the White House.
more videoVIDEO
CNN's Judy Woodruff on Bill Clinton.

CNN's Kelli Arena on Alberto Gonzales.

Controversy in San Diego mayoral vote.
Great Britain
Tony Blair

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush welcomed his staunchest ally in the Iraq war, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to the White House Thursday evening.

Blair's visit is the first by a head of government since Bush won re-election last week.

The president's controversial Iraq policy played a pivotal role in the campaign battle.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer visited Bush at the White House on Wednesday. (Full story)

Blair arrived at the White House just before 7 p.m., when the two leaders shook hands and walked inside without addressing reporters to begin their two-day visit.

In addition to the war in Iraq and Britain's upcoming elections in January, the Middle East peace process is also expected to be a focus of discussion -- an issue that has taken on even more urgency after the death early Thursday morning of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. (Full story)

Last week, in congratulating the president on his victory over Democratic Sen. John Kerry, Blair called the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the world's "single most pressing political challenge."

Bush has said a change in the Palestinian leadership could be an opportunity to move toward a two-state solution, in which an independent Palestinian state and Israel would co-exist in peace.

Blair's unwavering support of Bush's Iraq policy has come at a political cost in Britain, where many in the prime minister's own Labor Party opposed the war.

It has also put the British leader in the middle between the United States and Bush's European critics.

At a news briefing in London Thursday, Blair's official spokesman said the two leaders would discuss "how things would be moved forward" in relations between the United States and Europe.

Last week, in announcing the meeting, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said it was part of Bush's effort to reach out to Europeans "to promote development and progress, to defeat the terrorists and to encourage freedom and democracy as alternatives to tyranny and terror."

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Father guilty of killing 9 of his children
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards


International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.