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Tuesday, 22 July 2003

PRIME MINISTER TAKES QUESTIONS FROM CHINESE STUDENTS IN BEIJING (22/07/03)
In a question and answer session in Beijing on 22 July, Prime Minister, Tony Blair answered a number of questions from students at the Tsinghua University. When asked about the Iraq conflict, Mr Blair stated that he had no doubt at all that Iraq was trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. The Prime Minister said he hoped there would be more 'informed' debate on the issue, once the Iraq Survey Group had delivered their report on Iraq's banned weapons programmes. On the decision to take action against the Iraqi regime, Mr Blair said: 'I believe no matter how difficult, it was the right thing to do. I also think, not simply in terms of the security of the world, but in terms of the suffering of the Iraqi people, it is better that they are rid of Saddam Hussein as their ruler.'
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SADDAM'S SONS CONFIRMED DEAD: FOREIGN SECRETARY REACTION (22/07/03)
Speaking after confirmation was received of the death of Saddam Hussein's two sons, Uday and Qusay Hussein, on 22 July, the Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the two 'shared their father's responsibility for the many years of suffering by the Iraqi people'. He said they had had the chance to 'hand themselves in to justice and answer for their crimes' but had refused. Mr Straw concluded that 'the news that Saddam's sons are no longer a threat to the security of Iraq will be a reassurance to the Iraqi people'.
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FOREIGN SECRETARY WELCOMES REPORT BY UN SECRETARY GENERAL KOFI ANNAN (22/07/03)
Jack Straw has welcomed the report to the UN by Secretary General Kofi Annan, which confirms that the UN is fully engaged in the reconstruction process in Iraq. Mr Straw said: 'I welcome that the Secretary General agrees with the UK that the ultimate goal is to deliver an Iraq run for Iraqis by Iraqis, through a constitutional reform process owned by the Iraqi people, in a context of regional co-operation and stability.'
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