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Blair: 'I've no doubt at all [that] our basic policy towards Iraq is right'

Here's the full text of Blair's answer on Iraq in his interview with the
Observer's Political Editor Kamal Ahmed (taken from the guardian web-site:,4273,4276916,00.html )

Best wishes,



OBSERVER: Something that has been raised as a reason for this bitterness is
the situation in Iraq. Do you think that there needs to be some new work
there, for example on the sanctions issue?

BLAIR: In my view Iraq falls into a different category altogether. The truth
is Saddam Hussein could perfectly easily give his people the money that they
need for food and medicine. You know, the sanctions regime specifically
allows him to take oil revenue for food and medicine for his people and the
reason why he's not doing it is because he needs them to believe, because
they are not allowed any other propaganda other than the controlled media
that he gives them, he needs his people to believe that the reason why
they're starving and have difficulties is because of the United States of
America and Britain. It's nothing to do with that. I mean, the reason we
have no-fly zones is to prevent him doing what he did before with the Kurds
when he killed thousands of them by chemical attacks.

The reason why we need the sanctions is that we cannot have him using his
oil money to buy weapons of mass destruction, which we know he wants to do.
Let me assure you, that the evidence for that is absolutely overwhelming. He
is still trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction capability, no doubt
about that at all. What I do think, I mean, as you know for - again this is
why this is not something new - for many months Britain has been with our
other allies trying to get UN Security Council consent to a new sanctions
regime which would allow us to get money more directly through to the Iraqi

It's still worth us trying to do that but there are, you know, there are
familiar obstacles but I, you know, I am hopeful that we can push on that
front because again we've no desire to see the Iraqi people suffer. The
Iraqi people are actually suffering because of Saddam. I view that as a -
well I've no doubt at all our basic policy towards Iraq is right. What we
need to do is to try, as far as possible, deal with the suffering of the
Iraqi people whilst not giving Saddam an ability to get large sums of money
to be spent on weapons.

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