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British PM Defends Iraq War
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Visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday defended the Iraq war, saying it is not the time to walk away from the war against terror.

In an address to a rare joint sitting of the Australian parliament, Blair said a "titanic struggle" is being played out in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He acknowledged that the Iraq war has "split this nation as it did mine," but said it is not the time to walk away from the fight against terrorism.

"This is a time for the courage to see it through," he said.

Britain and Australia have been staunch allies of the United States in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are now maintaining troops in both countries.

Amid fears of a civil war in Iraq, both Britain and Australia are now facing stronger domestic calls for withdrawal from Iraq. Arecent opinion poll showed that two thirds of Australians said Australian troops should be withdrawn from Iraq by May at the least.

Blair started his four-day official visit on Saturday, which is his second visit to Australia since he became British prime minister nine years ago. He is the fifth world leader to address the Australian parliament.

The key to winning the battle against terrorism is to show it is not only about security, but also "a struggle about values and about modernity," he said.

"We have to show that these are not Western ... American or Anglo Saxon values, but values in the common ownership of humanity, universal values that should be the right of the global citizen," he said.

"This is the challenge I believe we face and ranged against us are of course the people who hate us, but beyond them are many more who don't hate us but question our motives, our good faith, our even-handedness, who could support our values but believe we support them selectively," said Blair.

(Xinhua News Agency March 27, 2006)

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