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Iraqi President Visits PM Blair in UK

PM welcomes Iraqi President to Number 10

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani visited Downing Street yesterday for talks.

His meeting with Tony Blair came ahead of next week's referendum on a new Iraqi constitution, which will be followed by elections due in December.

Tony Blair said it was important to 'stay the course' to help give the Iraqis 'the democracy they so self-evidently want.'

The only side to be on, he told journalists, was the side of the Iraqi people. Problems in the country in the last two years had been caused by those 'who did not want the democratic process to succeed.'

Mr Talabani thanked Britain for 'liberating us from a dictator. Your sons and daughters freed us from that nightmare.'

Iraq, he added, was now being built on 'dialogue, compromise and equality.'

This is Mr Talabani's first official visit to Europe since he took office in April.

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