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Bush's Presidential medals for Uribe, Blair and Howard

Wednesday, January 7th 2009 - 20:00 UTC
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United Status outgoing president George W. Bush will be presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Uribe and to the former prime ministers of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair and John Howard from Australia.

Awarded by the US president, it is the highest civilian award alongside the Congressional Gold Medal, awarded by Congress. The ceremony has been scheduled for next January 13 at the White House, during President Bush's last week in office. Dana Perino, White House spokesperson said that the three political figures had been honoured for their commitment and efforts "to improve democracy, human rights and peace abroad". "Their efforts to bring hope and freedom to people of all the world have made their countries, the US and the world community a safer place", added Perino. Mr. Uribe, Blair and Howard were described as "staunch allies of the US". Former leaders Blair and Howard were the two great allies of President Bush in the Iraq war. Mr. Uribe has a very close relation with President Bush and has been one of his strongest allies in Latinamerica. President Bush so far has presented the honours medal 78 times including to the man who ruled Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein regime, Paul Bremer and to former CIA chief George Tenet. Mr Blair received the honour in July 2003, shortly after the invasion of Iraq, but never collected it. The former Prime Minister, who stepped down in 2007, is now Middle East peace envoy for the Quartet - Russia, the US, the EU and UN. Mr Blair's spokesman said: "The award of this medal reflects true courage of the men and women of the British Armed Forces who, through their service and sacrifice, have safeguarded freedom, democracy and human rights around the globe." The Medal of Freedom was established by President Harry Truman in 1945 to recognise civilians for their efforts during the Second World War.

Categories: Politics, United States.

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