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British Iraq war investigators quiz French, US officials

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Sir John Chilcot chairs a public hearing on Britain's role in the Iraq war. Reuters

Britain’s Iraq war inquiry plans to include evidence from officials in France and the United States in its report on Britain’s decision to invade Iraq, the committee announced on Tuesday. Members of the panel have already questioned former diplomats and ministers in Paris, and are currently conducting interviews in Washington and Boston.


 

The committee will spend five days holding “private discussions” with several people who can provide insight into the UK’s involvement in Iraq, according to a statement on the inquiry’s website.
 
These will include officials and military officers from both the current and former US administrations.
 
The trip follows a one-day visit to Paris on 4 May, during which the committee spoke to several French citizens, notably Dominique de Villepin, who was French Foreign Minister at the time of the invasion in 2003 and went on to become prime minister.
 
Also interviewed were France’s former ambassador to the US and the United Nations, Jean David Levitte, and former chief of defence staff, General Henri Bentegeat.
 
Since the interviews are being conducted on a private basis, the information collected will only be included in the inquiry’s report if the interviewees permit it.
 
The UK’s Iraq war inquiry, chaired by Sir John Chilcot, was opened in July 2009 but suspended in the run-up to the country's recent general election.