'Sack Blair' as Middle East envoy

Herald Series: Tony Blair Tony Blair

Three former British ambassadors are backing a campaign calling for Tony Blair to be sacked as international envoy to the Middle East after his attempts to "absolve himself" of responsibility for the crisis in Iraq.

The Guardian reported that the three had signed a letter, organised by the makers of Respect MP George Galloway's film The Killing Of Tony Blair, which says the invasion of 2003 led to the rise of "fundamentalist terrorism in a land where none existed previously".

The retried diplomats were led by Sir Richard Dalton, who was ambassador to Iran when Mr Blair was prime minister, the paper said.

He was said to have been joined by Oliver Miles, who was ambassador to Libya when diplomatic relations were severed in 1984 following the killing of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, and Christopher Long, a former ambassador to Egypt.

The letter, addressed to the international Quartet on the Middle East - the United Nations, the United States, Russia and the European Union - describes Mr Blair's achievements as international envoy as "negligible".

"We are also dismayed, however, at Tony Blair's recent attempts to absolve himself of any responsibility for the current crisis by isolating it from the legacy of the Iraq war," it says, according to the Guardian.

"In order to justify the invasion, Tony Blair misled the British people by claiming that Saddam had links to al Qaida. In the wake of recent events it is a cruel irony for the people of Iraq that perhaps the invasion's most enduring legacy has been the rise of fundamentalist terrorism in a land where none existed previously.

"We believe that Mr Blair, as a vociferous advocate of the invasion, must accept a degree of responsibility for its consequences."

A spokesman for Mr Blair told the Guardian: "These are all people viscerally opposed to Tony Blair with absolutely no credibility in relation to him whatsoever.

"Their attack is neither surprising nor newsworthy. They include the alliance of hard right and hard left views which he has fought against all his political life."

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