FACTBOX: A look at the Bush-Blair relationship
(Reuters) - Following is a look at the relationship between U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
They were brought together in what Bush called his war on terrorism, although Blair's Labour Party has traditionally allied with U.S. Democrats, and the opposition Conservatives with Bush's Republicans.
* Signaling the importance of the U.S.-British ties, Bush held his first meeting with Blair in Washington in February 2001, only about a month after he was inaugurated. The news conference at the Camp David presidential retreat touched on weighty issues but, asked what the two men had in common, Bush surprised his guest by noting with a smile that they used the same brand of toothpaste. The difference in style between the articulate Blair and the verbally awkward, jokey Bush, which marked subsequent joint appearances, was immediately apparent.
* After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, in which 67 Britons were among nearly 3,000 dead, Blair closed ranks with Bush. "We were with you at the first. We will stay with you to the last," he declared. Britain took part in military attacks on Afghanistan, where al Qaeda was taking refuge.
* During 2002, Blair worked with Bush to prepare for military action against Iraq, publishing documents to bolster the cause for war, including on Iraq's weapons stocks and human rights violations, and working for U.N. backing. In a State of the Union speech, Bush cited British intelligence for his claim, later retracted, that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had sought ingredients for a nuclear weapon in Africa.
* Blair, at enormous political cost at home, where the Iraq war was deeply unpopular, provided by far the biggest non-U.S. military contingent in the U.S.-led force that invaded in March 2003.
* In July 2006, Blair was mocked as "Bush's poodle" -- their relationship more that of a master and his dog than of equals -- after a chat with Bush at a Group of Eight summit in Russia was broadcast. Bush, unaware that a microphone was on, greeted Blair with the words "Yo, Blair." He also told Blair Syria should press Hezbollah to "stop doing this shit" in Lebanon.
- Police hunt for motive as search for Malaysian jet spans hemispheres |
- Crimeans vote over 90 percent to quit Ukraine for Russia |
- Ukraine, Russia agree Crimea truce until March 21-Ukraine minister
- 'Good night': Haunting final contact from missing Malaysian jet |
- Malaysian PM says lost airliner was diverted deliberately |