Bush and Blair stay silent

Former US President George W Bush and former UK prime minister Tony Blair have both refused to comment on the reported death of former US secretary of state Colin Powell.

Mr Powell’s family announced through social media that he had died at age 84 at the Walter Reed National Medical Centre in Washington DC from complications related to the COVID-19 virus.

Mr Bush (photographed above with Mr Blair when they were both in office) released a statement saying he had been approached by media representatives seeking comment on Mr Powell’s alleged death.

“However, I will not be commenting because as a former President I have access to daily intelligence briefings and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has advised that it cannot confirm Mr Powell’s passing,” he said.

“The CIA will be making further overt and covert assessments and will update its advice as soon as possible.

“I will then be in a better position to make an assessment on whether I make a statement or not.”

Mr Blair echoed Mr Bush’s position in a statement released in London.

“Whatever George says,” Mr Blair’s brief statement said.

In Sydney, former Australian prime minister John Howard said he also would wait to see what Mr Bush said before making his own statement.

However, he added that if he were still running the country he would not hesitate to send troops to Mr Powell’s funeral if that’s what Mr Bush wanted.