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Britain PM Tony Blair says Iraq isn't Vietnam

Written by: Staff

Wellington, Mar 29: British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday the situation in Iraq was a difficult one but it wasn't another Vietnam War.

Blair arrived in New Zealand yesterday and was greeted by a group of anti-Iraq war protesters who chanted ''Blood on your hands'' and ''British Army, killing machine''.

''It is a very difficult situation, you're right, but this isn't Vietnam.'' Blair said in an interview with Radio New Zealand, during a two-day visit to the country.

Defending his government's policies on Iraq, Blair said the troops were operating with the consent of the Iraqi people.

''Vietnam was an occupation where there was a completely different set of circumstances,'' he said.

''In Iraq, we're there with the consent of the democratically elected government and the U.N. If the democratically elected government that'll be formed shortly says to us 'leave', we'll leave but they're not saying that.'' Tens of thousands of American and British troops are battling a violent insurgency in Iraq, where the rising death toll has prompted a comparison with the U.S. war in Vietnam that ended in 1975 in a humiliating defeat for Washington.

Blair is visiting New Zealand after attending the Commonwealth Games in Australia. He is due to leave for Indonesia later on today.


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