25th Mar 2017

The rival pole scenario feared by Blair

British Prime Minister Tony Blair last night appealed to Americans to combine their need to protect their own security with the wider needs of international justice, reported the Guardian ahead of today's continued US-UK summit in Northern Ireland.

Arriving in Belfast last night Mr Blair had a short walk and a dinner with American president George Bush, reportedly focusing on the UN's role in post-war Iraq.

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However, the healing of European splits over the Iraq war might also be on the mind of the British Premier in today's talks.

Downing Street regards as "catastrophic" the scenario whereby France and Germany are tempted to seek a rival pole of global power in cooperation with Russia.

Number 10 is reacting to a series of meetings between Paris, Moscow and Berlin, which it sees as deepening divisions in Europe.

Back into the fold

UK membership of the euro could be one possible strategy to bring London back in line with leading European nations, such as France and Germany.

Mr Blair "recognises that the political case for British membership of the euro has been increased by the diplomatic split with France and Germany over the Iraq conflict", according to the Guardian.

Last night Peter Mandelson, a former cabinet minister who has Mr Blair's ear, focussed on the same topic, urging the UK government to pay attention to the 'special relationship' with its European partners after the Iraq war.

Speaking to a Labour Movement for Europe meeting at Westminster he said: "We should resist those in Washington and London who want to use this crisis, and our disagreement with the French, to split Britain from Europe".

Mr Mandelson has been outside the government for more than two years but is close to the prime minister and his approach to the EU.

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