LONDON, March 4: The British prime minister Tony Blair gave the biggest hint yet that Britain will support the US in any military confrontation to depose the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein.

In an interview during the Common Wealth Conference Mr Blair said he is determined to provide clear evidence of the enormous threat he and President George Bush believe Saddam’s regime represents. The document is thought to reveal Saddam’s attempts to amass a rudimentary nuclear capability, including the power to make “dirty” nuclear bombs — basic devices capable of wreaking havoc. In contrast with other European leaders who have signalled that they will not back a US military action to depose Saddam, Mr Blair fully believes that the Iraqi leader is developing weapons of mass destruction and was capable of using them.

“If chemical, biological or nuclear capability fall into the wrong hands, then I think we have got to act on it because, if we don’t act, we will find out too late the potential for destruction,” Mr Blair told the Australian television.

Tam Dalyell, the father of the House of Commons, said: “I feel sheer dismay. If there is an attack on Iraq it will blow apart the international coalition against terrorism.” Many in Britain also fear that action against Afghanistan was strengthened by support from Islamic nations which could fall away if Iraq comes under threat.

The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, is to meet the Iraqi foreign minister, Naji Sabri, in New York on Thursday to discuss the weapons inspections.

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