British Iraq war probe quizzes Bremer, Crocker on US trip

28th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Iraq war inquiry questioned US diplomats Paul Bremer and Ryan Crocker among other officials during a visit to the United States last week, it said Friday.

Members of the five-strong panel, which is investigating the March 2003 invasion and subsequent operations until Britain's pull-out last year, also met with the current French and Australian ambassadors in Washington.

The inquiry said the May 17-21 trip, which also included Boston, was intended to "receive a wider international perspective on the UK's involvement in Iraq".

But it added: "As the meetings were not formal evidence sessions, records of the conversations are not being published."

Bremer was administrator of Iraq in the first year after the invasion, while Crocker was US ambassador there from 2007 to 2009.

The inquiry also questioned General David McKiernan, who led coalition forces during the invasion, as well as advisors to the US State Department and the National Security Council, and officials from the World Bank.

Charles Duelfer and David Kay, who at one time both led the Iraq Survey Group, the fact-finding mission which searched fruitlessly for alleged weapons of mass destruction after the invasion, were also questioned.

The independent inquiry, lead by a former top civil servant, was launched in July last year and held several months of hearings before being suspended ahead of Britain's May 6 elections.

Among those who gave testimony were former prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and further hearings are expected later this year.

© 2010 AFP

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