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Blair at Iraq hearing to explain "gaps" in earlier testimony

Other News Materials 21 January 2011 14:46
Former prime minister Tony Blair appeared before Britain's Iraq Inquiry to face fresh questions about his decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Blair at Iraq hearing to explain "gaps" in earlier testimony

Former prime minister Tony Blair appeared before Britain's Iraq Inquiry to face fresh questions about his decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, DPA reported.

Blair's second appearance before the inquiry panel was meant to explain "gaps" in his earlier testimony a year ago and clear up apparent "discrepancies" with accounts given by other witnesses, the inquiry said.

The questioning Friday focussed on the legality of the invasion and on the importance of private notes Blair exchanged with former US president George W Bush in the run-up to the six-year conflict.

Blair conceded Friday that he had "disregarded" initial advice from Peter Goldsmith, the government's chief legal adviser at the time, that the invasion would be illegal without a second UN resolution.

He regarded the initial guidance as "provisional," said Blair. "So I was continuing to hold to the position that another resolution was not necessary," said Blair.

Blair, who was prime minister when the US-led coalition invaded Iraq in 2003, first gave evidence to the inquiry a year ago. He said then that he had "no regrets" about Britain's role in toppling Saddam Hussein.

Blair, who is now a special adviser to the UN Middle East Quartet, arrived two hours early for the hearing in central London, avoiding a handful of demonstrators who camped outside.

"Yet again he sneaked in under cover of darkness, mirroring the way in which he launched the illegal war in 2003," said Andrew Murray, chairman of the protest group Stop The War Coalition.

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