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News number: 8710170484

17:50 | 2009-01-06


نسخه چاپي ارسال به دوستان

Former Minister Derides Bush Honor for Blair

TEHRAN (FNA)- Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is being treated with derision by one of his cabinet colleagues for accepting America's highest civilian honor for his unfaltering support for US President George W Bush.

"It is for services rendered," said former International Development Secretary Clare Short, who resigned from her cabinet post in protest against the conduct of the Iraq war.

"I think that it is rather good. It symbolizes the whole thing. Bush is a disastrous president. Iraq was the most disastrous element of his presidency. Blair, by going along with it, made it all possible," Short said.

According to the Islamic republic news agency, she said that she was not surprised at the decision by Bush to award Blair with a Presidential Medal of Freedom just before he exits from the world stage next week, leaving two unfinished wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"They have been glued at the hip all the way," Short was quoted saying by the Times newspaper Tuesday. "It is all very sad and fitting," she added sarcastically.

The former cabinet minister also suggested that Blair had declined to pick up his Congressional Gold Medal for the support he offered for the 2003 invasion of Iraq "because it was an embarrassment".

According to former British Ambassador to the US, Sir David Manning, Blair felt unable to collect the Gold Medal while still in office because the ceremony would reinforce the prejudices of those convinced that he was "some sort of poodle" for Bush.

The former prime minister, who is now the Quartet's Middle East peace envoy, has also been criticized by the Liberal Democrats for taking time out to be presented with Bush's award on January 13.

"Tony Blair should be spending next week helping to fix the mess in Gaza, not receiving an award for the biggest foreign policy disaster in recent history and his silence over Guantanamo Bay," the Lib Dem's shadow foreign secretary Edward Davey said.