President Bush will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to two of his closest allies on the Iraq war, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and ex-Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

Bush will give the award, the nation's highest civilian honor, to Blair, Howard and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe during a White House ceremony on January 13, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino announced on Monday.

"The president is honoring these leaders for their work to improve the lives of their citizens and for their efforts to promote democracy, human rights and peace abroad," Perino said.

"All three leaders have been staunch allies of the United States, particularly in combating terrorism. And their efforts to bring hope and freedom to people around the globe have made their nations, America and the world community a safer and more secure world," Perino added.

Both Blair and Howard faced criticism in their home countries for backing the Iraq war. But like Bush, both have wavered little in their support for it.

Uribe also supported the Iraq war and has sought to crackdown on drug cartels in Colombia with the aid of U.S. money.

Bush has awarded the Medal of Freedom to other controversial supporters of the Iraq war, including former CIA Director George Tenet, Gen. Tommy Franks and L. Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority that was in charge of Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.