Washington, Jan.13 (ANI): Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will received the United States's highest civil award - the Congressional Gold Medal of Honour, at a ceremony here today.
President George W Bush will bestow the honour in recognition of the ex-premier's work to "improve the lives of citizens" and for his effort to promote "democracy, human rights and peace abroad".
That award was received during the height of the Iraq War debate, leading to suggestions that Blair was reluctant to accept it over concerns of being seen as a "poodle" of the United States.
Blair will attend alongside President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia and former Australian Prime Minister John Howard - both of whom will also be handed the medal.
Announcing the awards earlier this month, White House press secretary Dana Perino said: "The President is honouring these leaders for their work to improve the lives of their citizens and for their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad. All three leaders have been staunch allies of the United States, particularly in combating terrorism."
A spokesman for Tony Blair said it was a "great honour" to receive the award, adding that: "The award of this medal reflects true courage of the men and women of the British armed forces who have safeguarded freedom, democracy and human rights around the globe, thanks to their heroic service and sacrifice." (ANI)