Blair Urges Patience in Iraq Weapons Hunt

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Urging a little patience, British Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) said Friday he has "absolutely no doubt" that concrete evidence will be found of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction.

Blair, the first foreign leader to visit Iraq since the war, stopped in Poland to thank the country's leaders for contributing about 200 troops to the war and discussed the postwar outlook with Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller (search).

But he faced a barrage of questions over the failure so far to present concrete evidence backing the prewar argument that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

"Have a little patience," Blair said at a news conference alongside Miller. "I have absolutely no doubt at all that we will present the full evidence after we have investigated all the sites, after we've interviewed all the scientists and experts, and this will take place in the coming weeks and months."

Many Britons are furious about Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's suggestion that Saddam (search) might have destroyed his weapons before the fighting began.

And on Thursday, British Broadcasting Corp. reported that British intelligence agents were unhappy with a dossier Blair's office released on Iraqi weapons last year, particularly its claim that Saddam was able to launch such arms on 45 minutes' notice.

The network quoted an unidentified intelligence source who reportedly said intelligence agencies added that charge at the behest of the prime minister's office but now believed it was wrong.

"The idea that we authorized or made our intelligence agencies invent some piece of evidence is completely absurd," Blair said Friday.

He said that people who opposed the war "are now trying to find a fresh reason for saying why it wasn't the right thing to do."

Blair said Saddam's ties to weapons of mass destruction "is not some invention of the British security services. It's been well documented over 12 years of lies and deception from Saddam."

Yet, Blair said the search is "not the most urgent priority since Saddam is gone," arguing that rebuilding Iraq and addressing humanitarian issues take precedence.

Poland and Britain are expected to command postwar zones in Iraq.