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Straw to check Powell phone records

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Straw to check Powell phone records
Justice Minister Jack Straw leaves No.10 Downing Street after his cabinet meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London on June 9, 2009. Prime Minister Brown made some new appointments to his cabinet following criticism on his leadership. (UPI Photo/Hugo Philpott) | License Photo

LONDON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says he will check records of his pre-Iraq invasion phone calls with then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Straw made the promise Monday to Britain's Iraq Inquiry panel after allegations emerged that Powell told him in the weeks prior to the 2001 Iraq invasion that President George W. Bush would invade the country even if Saddam Hussein complied with nuclear arms inspectors, The Times of London reported.

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The newspaper said the calls became an issue after Straw defended his decision to dismiss the advice of his chief legal adviser that the war would be unlawful.

Inquiry panel member Lawrence Freedman, hinting that the panel may have documents showing Bush planned to attack Iraq even if U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix found that Saddam was complying with U.N. resolution 1441, asked Straw, "Was there any point where Powell said to you that even if Iraq complied, President Bush had already made a decision to go to war?"

The Times said Straw, now Britain's justice secretary, replied, "Certainly not to the best of my recollection. I would have to check the record of my many conversations I had with Secretary Powell."

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