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18-05-2010

Iraq Inquiry visiting United States following trip to France

Members of the Iraq Inquiry committee have arrived in the United States to speak to officials and military officers from the current and former administrations. The committee is in the US for five days visiting Washington DC and Boston. They will have private discussions with a number of people who have insights into the UK’s involvement in Iraq over the period being examined by the Inquiry.

As the talks are being held on a private basis, the identities of the people the Inquiry committee are seeing and the location of meetings will not be revealed in advance. Subject to the agreement of participants, the Inquiry may provide more details about the trip after it has been completed. Similarly, if the committee wishes to use any of the information it receives from individuals in America in its report, it will seek their permission first.

The trip to the United States follows a one-day visit to Paris on Tuesday 4 May, where the Iraq Inquiry committee met a number of French citizens who provided perspectives on international issues in the lead-up to and during the conflict in Iraq. They included Dominique de Villepin (French Minister of Foreign Affairs 2002-2004), Jean David Levitte (French Permanent Representative to the UN 2000- 2002 and then Ambassador to the US from 2002 to 2007), Gérard Errera (French Ambassador to London 2002- 2007), General Henri Bentégeat (Chief of the Military Staff to the President 1999- 2002 and then Chief of the Defence Staff 2002-2006) and Jean-Luc Florent (French UN legal advisor). The committee also saw Maurice Gourdault-Montagne (Senior Diplomatic Counsellor to the President 2002-2007, and currently the French Ambassador to the UK) in London.

Since finishing the first round of public hearings in March, the Iraq Inquiry has been analysing the witness testimonies obtained during the hearings, as well as continuing to examine many thousands of highly classified government documents. The next round of public hearings is due to start in the summer. Hearing dates and details of witnesses will be released soon.