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Page last updated at 07:45 GMT, Thursday, 9 June 2011 08:45 UK

Blair: 'We cannot just be spectators'

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Tony Blair has urged the West to develop a coherent strategy across the Middle East as the Arab spring continues.

Speaking to Sarah Montague he called for the adoption of "a plan for change that is as much economic and social as it is political".

"We have to be players in this, we can't just be spectators," he said.

Debating each regional development in turn, he said that there was only a "very residual hope" that President Assad would take forward reform in Syria, and that the Nato operation in Libya "looks like it is succeeding".

Cautioning that the Egyptian revolution was "not the easy one," he added: "I am on balance optimistic, but it is on balance.

"The problem with revolutions is not how they begin but how they end."

And on Israel-Palestine, he stated that the stalemate would only be broken with the creation of a viable Palestinian state and a guarantee of Israeli security.

He denied that the intervention in Iraq had undermined the ability of the UK to act in the region.

"Contrary to what some people thought and said, people do want democracy" in the Middle East, Mr Blair commented.


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