Tony Blair, the U.K.’s former prime minister, said Russia and Syria need to prove they’re acting in good faith in the tentative agreement to prevent military action against the Assad regime as long as it turns over its chemical weapons over.
Blair, one of the chief supporters of President George W. Bush’s two wars in the Middle East, said he’d supported another military intervention in Syria (though legislators there voted against an intervention last month). The United Nations is currently negotiating the disarming of Syria.
“We have to make sure whatever happens is on verifiable. The pressure is on us, but it’s also on Russia, frankly, and on Assad to do what they said they’d do,” he said Tuesday. “There is a process that will be put in place, now we’ve got to see it through. But even, frankly, if we deal with the chemical weapons issues, and I hope we can, you still have the ongoing civil war there that’s disintegrating the country.”
Blair’s statements echoed those made by the president hours later, when he addressed the nation and supported engagement—including the restarted talks between Iran and the U.S. on nuclear weapons—but said he wouldn’t hesitate to use force to protect American interests.
“The only outcome that counts is one that delivers the result. I don’t think it matters how we got here, if we manage to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons. That would be a huge plus. But you are still left with the essential conflict.”