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Cheney backs away from Iraq WMD claim: report

LONDON (AFP) Jan 28, 2004

A British newspaper reported Wednesday that US Vice President Dick Cheney had backed away from asserting that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, despite repeatedly making such claims before the war against Saddam Hussein's regime last year.

Cheney, who was speaking in Rome late Tuesday to a number of European newspapers before the end of a four-day visit to Europe, defended the US decision to invade Iraq last March, the Financial Times reported.

But in his first public response to David Kay, who resigned last week as the chief US arms inspector in Iraq saying pre-war intelligence was wrong, Cheney said: "There's still work to be done to ascertain exactly what's there, and I am not prepared to make a final judgment until they (inspectors) have completed their work."

The Vice President has been one of the most vocal champions of the view that Iraq had possessed chemical and biological weapons, the Financial Times noted.
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