Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair wanted to topple Saddam Hussein but hoped to avoid war in Iraq, Britain's ambassador to the US said Wednesday.
David Manning, who was Blair's foreign policy adviser in the run-up to the war, denied claims the former leader was committed to military action long before 2003.
Blair "was always in favor of regime change, but that did not mean he always wanted regime change through military means," Manning told Britain's left-leaning New Statesman magazine.
"He must have known it might come to military action, but I have always believed he hoped and probably believed there was a way of getting there by using the UN to put pressure on Saddam," the ambassador said. "I don't think he ever wanted to go by the military route."