UK covers up full account of Blair-Bush Iraq talks
The British government has prevented the release of the full account of the secret talks between former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President George W. Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war.
This comes as part of an agreement between Sir John Chilcot, the chair of Chilcot inquiry into the British involvement in the Iraq war, and Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood.
Based on the deal, only outlines of the crucial conversations and a selection of quotes from Blair will be published in the long-awaited report.
The deal also means that no detail of Bush’s comments or views made during the exchanges will be made public.
In a letter, published on Thursday, Chilcot told Heywood that “detailed consideration of the gists and quotes requested by the inquiry has now begun.”
“Consideration will be based on the principle that our use of this material should not reflect President Bush’s views,” Chilcot wrote.
“We have also agreed that the use of direct quotation from the documents should be the minimum necessary to enable the inquiry to articulate its conclusions,” he added.
The Chilcot inquiry was established five years ago to examine Britain’s involvement in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
The inquiry took evidence, mostly in public, from November 2009 to February 2011. Those appearing before it included Blair, other leading figures within the 1997-2010 Labour government, former cabinet secretaries and the military high command.
There are speculations that the agreement reached between the Chilcot team and the cabinet Secretary could now clear the way for the report to be published this year.