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- Monday, May 17 2004, 4:08:21 (CEST)|
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Website title: The Nation
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush plan to make an unprecedented joint appearance in Baghdad in a "desperate" bid to quell mounting anger over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.
They fear the scandal over the torture of captives by US and British troops is threatening to wreck the coalition mission and destabilise the Middle East, the British Sunday Mirror tabloid reported Sunday.
The report, however, did not spell out the date when the two leaders will make the trip.
It said Bush and Blair, who are expected to travel to Iraq on separate planes escorted by British and US fighter jets, would make an unprecedented joint appearance in the Iraqi capital and try to reassure the people that the West condemned the actions of "rogue" troops and that those found guilty would be punished.
Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said that British troops would leave if the new Iraqi government, which takes charge on June 30, requested.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell and American administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer had also said that America would do the same.
The pledge came ahead of a new poll in the US today which showed President Bush's approval rating plunging to its lowest ever level. Just 36 per cent of Americans now back his handling of the Iraq war.
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