Blair says war may not end soon
Tony Blair warned his Cabinet that they should not expect the war in Iraq to end soon, though it was clear Saddam Hussein would be ousted.world Updated: Apr 03, 2003 19:18 IST
Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday warned his Cabinet that they should not expect the war in Iraq to end soon, though it was clear Saddam Hussein would be ousted, Blair's official spokesman said.
"It is increasingly clear that there is only one outcome to this conflict," the spokesman quoted Blair as telling the Cabinet.
"He also warned against getting carried away, or predicting precise time scales," the spokesman said, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity. "There are still many difficulties to overcome on all fronts but we are further forward (on) all fronts than we could have hoped."
Blair also said British troops were consolidating their position around the southern city of Basra, "showing people day by day that change is irreversible," the spokesman said.
Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, speaking in the House of Commons, said British soldiers were continuing to strike at forces in Basra loyal to Saddam.
"Key suburbs of Basra have now been seized. We will go further into the city at a time of our own choosing," he said.
Hoon said American and British forces had captured more than 9,000 Iraqi prisoners of war.
Thirty-nine Britons are being treated for injuries in and near Iraq and 35 more have been evacuated for medical treatment, he said. Twenty-seven British soldiers have been killed.
Hoon told lawmakers the US-led coalition was making steady progress in dislodging Saddam from power, but urged them to be patient.
First Published: Apr 03, 2003 19:18 IST