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The widow of the first British soldier killed in Iraq has praised George Bush for offering to meet with victims' families.

Samantha Roberts, whose husband Sgt Steven Roberts was shot while trying to quell a riot, said it was ironic that it was the US President, and not Tony Blair, who had agreed to see UK war widows.

She told Channel 4 News that she had met with Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, but it was not to discuss the ethics of the war.

"I think it is quite ironic that Mr Bush is prepared to see the relatives but Mr Blair hasn't invited anybody," she said.

Mrs Roberts, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, said she believed it was possible to find out a lot more by meeting someone face to face and "looking them in the eye".

But she said she would still have some hard questions for the US leader if they met.

"I would ask if shock and awe was an absolute necessity.

"I would also ask him to consider not to pull troops out. We need them there for at least six months."

She added: "We believe that Steve didn't die in vain anyway but I would like to know if the actions that they used were absolutely necessary - I'd like to know if there was another way they could have done it."

Sergeant Roberts, 33, from the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, was shot near Al Zubayr near Basra in March. He left one child from a previous marriage.

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