British Prime Minister Tony Blair -- a key US ally in the war to oust Saddam Hussein -- is in Washington to address the US Congress and confer with President Bush.
In his address to a joint meeting of Congress -- a rare honor for a foreign leader -- Mr. Blair is expected to underline the need for coalition forces to stay in Iraq as reconstruction efforts there continue.
A Blair spokesman says the British leader will also tell lawmakers that a lasting Middle East peace settlement is the only way to defeat terrorism. Later today, the British leader visits the White House.
The Blair government and the Bush administration are facing growing criticism for the joint use of bogus intelligence in the run-up to the war to oust Saddam.
The White House has since said one allegation -- that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Africa -- was based on discredited intelligence. But Mr. Blair said Wednesday he stands entirely behind the allegation.
Hours before Mr. Blair's arrival in Washington, a White House spokesman called the British leader a close ally and friend of America.