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Tony Blair responds to Archbishop Tutu’s opinion piece in this week’s Observer

Tony Blair responds to Archbishop Tutu’s opinion piece in this week’s Observer

In this week's Observer newspaper, Archbishop Desmond Tutu explains why he withdrew from the Discovery Leadership Summit in Johannesburg. The following is a response from Tony Blair:

“I have a great respect for Archbishop Tutu's fight against apartheid - where we were on the same side of the argument - but to repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown.

"And to say that the fact that Saddam massacred hundreds of thousands of his citizens is irrelevant to the morality of removing him is bizarre. We have just had the memorials both of the Halabja massacre where thousands of people were murdered in one day by Saddam's use of chemical weapons; and that of the Iran-Iraq war where casualties numbered up to a million including many killed by chemical weapons. In addition his slaughter of his political opponents, the treatment of the Marsh Arabs and the systematic torture of his people make the case for removing him morally strong. But the basis of action was as stated at the time.

"In short this is the same argument we have had many times with nothing new to say. But surely in a healthy democracy people can agree to disagree. I would also point out that, despite the problems, Iraq today has an economy three times or more in size with child mortality rate cut by a third of what it was. And with investment hugely increased in places like Basra."