Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that he accepts full responsibility for going to war in Iraq in 2003. He also said that he fells deeply and sincerely the grief and suffering of those who lost ones in Iraq.
"I express more sorrow and regret than you will ever know," Blair told journalists.
"It was the last-moment decision for us as the [Chilcot] report indeed says… With respect I did not have the option of that delay, I had to decide," Blair said adding that he took the decision "with the heaviest of hearts".
Blair: I don't think it fair or accurate to criticize armed forces, civil service or intelligence service. It was my decision— Robert Peston (@Peston) July 6, 2016
The former prime minister added that there were no reasons to delay the invasion.
"I didn't have the option to delay the invasion in Iraq," he said. "I ask the British people to accept that I took the decision because I thought it was the right thing to do."
Blair noted that intelligence assessments turned out to be wrong, aftermath turned out to be more hostile than imagined. However, he is profoundly disagree that today's terrorism stems are consequences of the invasion of Iraq.
Blair suggests he will publish his own "lessons to be learned" document.— norman smith (@BBCNormanS) July 6, 2016
Blair is convinced that the world was and is in a better place without Saddam Hussein and he will not say he regrets getting rid of Saddam Hussein.
"I profoundly disagree that Saddam Hussein should have been allowed to stay in power," Tony Blair told journalists at the press conference after the Chilcot report publication.
"9/11 was an event like no other in the US history. I consider it an attack on the whole free world. I believed that Britain as America's strongest ally should be with it in tackling this new an unprecedented security challenge [terrorism]. I believed it important that America was not alone, but part of a wider coalition. In the end, even the majority of European Union nations supported action in Iraq," Blair said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, the UK government released an report by Sir John Chilcot devoted to the UK role in the 2003 Iraq War. Blair has been criticized for the United Kingdom’s involvement in the conflict that stretched through 2011. The campaign to topple then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein on suspicion that he had weapons of mass destruction killed 179 British soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, many of them civilians.