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|Wednesday, October 10, 2001, updated at 08:43(GMT+8)|
Blair to Visit Cairo for Talks Over US-British Raids on AfghanistanBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair will visit Cairo Thursday for talks with President Hosni Mubarak on the US-British air strikes against Afghanistan, Egypt's state-run MENA news agency reported Tuesday.
During the day-long stay, Blair will discuss with Mubarak and senior Egyptian officials the current regional and international developments, and the bilateral ties, MENA said, without giving further details.
The U.S. and Britain launched retaliatory air raids Sunday night against the Afghan ruling Taliban militia for harboring Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect of the September 11 terror attacks in New York and Washington.
Mubarak said Tuesday morning that Egypt supports "all U.S. measures" in fighting against terrorism as his country has long suffered from it.
He made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the Mubarak Peace Bridge on the Suez Canal, about 145 kilometers northeast of Cairo. This was Mubarak's first reaction to the U.S. military strikes against Afghanistan.
Blair Begins 3-day Diplomatic TourBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair Tuesday left for another diplomatic mission, to deepen the international coalition against terrorism, that will take him to the Middle East.
Blair was heading first to Geneva for talks late Tuesday with President Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates.
Downing Street said Blair will spend about 45 minutes with Sheik Zayed, who is in Europe for his usual month abroad.
The Prime Minister's office said Blair planned to fly on to the Middle East for talks with two other leaders. But British officials refused to say what countries Blair would visit or provide any further details.
"The purpose of the visit is to continue to deepen the international coalition against terrorism. That job did not end when military action started on Sunday. It is a constant necessity, " Blair's spokesman said.
"The Sheikh is somebody who has been in power for a considerable length of time and is somebody who will have particular insights in terms of regional issues, and also into Afghanistan and the Taliban," the Downing Street spokesman said.
After the terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, Blair had toured several times in Europe and Asia to help the U.S. to establish a coalition against terrorism.
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