The UK Government has published a document outlining its vision for Iraq in the event of military action.
Mr Blair made his comments following a summit between the UK, the US and Spain in the Azores (16 March 2003). Read the PM's opening statement.
Read the document in full
A vision for Iraq and the Iraqi people
A paper published by the UK Government, which will be delivered in written and video form to the region, and hopefully to many Iraqis, in the event we are forced to take military action.
Iraq is a country with a long history, a rich culture and an educated people. It has huge potential. Yet under Saddam Hussein its people have been driven into poverty and denied basic human rights. His defiance of a long series of United Nations resolutions demanding the disarmament of his nuclear, chemical, biological and long-range missile capability has led to sanctions. Saddam's rule of fear and repression has tortured and killed thousands of Iraqis and led to two wars of aggression against Iraq's neighbours.
For 12 years, Saddam has defied the will of the United Nations and undermined its authority. We have done all that we can to persuade him to disarm and thereby avoid military conflict. If Saddam refuses even now to co-operate fully with the UN, and he forces us to take the military route to achieve the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, we will do all that we can to limit civilian casualties and damage to essential economic infrastructure. We will mobilise the international community to provide emergency humanitarian relief.
Our aim is to disarm Saddam of his weapons of mass destruction, which threaten his neighbours and his people. Our presence in Iraq if military action is required to secure compliance with UN resolutions will be temporary. But our commitment to support the people of Iraq will be for the long term. The Iraqi people deserve to be lifted from tyranny and allowed to determine the future of their country for themselves. We pledge to work with the international community to ensure that the Iraqi people can exploit their country's resources for their own benefit, and contribute to their own reconstruction, with international support where needed. We wish to help the Iraqi people restore their country to its proper dignity and place in the community of nations, abiding by its international obligations and free from UN sanctions.
We will support the Iraqi people in their desire for
* Peace: a unified Iraq within its current borders living at peace with itself and with its neighbours.
* Prosperity: all Iraqis sharing the wealth created by its economy and its oil reserves, drawing on the talents and skills of its people.
* Freedom: an Iraq which respects fundamental human rights, including freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the dignity of family life, and whose people live free from repression and the fear of arbitrary arrest.
* Good Government: an independent Iraq respecting the rule of law, whose government reflects the diversity and choice of its population and helps rebuild Iraq's security and provides its people with food, water and high quality public services, especially health and education.
* International Respect: an Iraq respected by its neighbours which plays its full role as a member of the international community.
We will help by:
* Working to ensure any military campaign is as swift and carefully targeted as possible.
* Working with the UN and international community to help meet the humanitarian needs and prioritise resources to feed and care for the people of Iraq.
* Enabling Iraqis to establish their own effective representative government and encouraging UN involvement in the process.
* Achieving a swift end to sanctions as soon as Iraq is in compliance with UN Security Council resolutions.
* Supporting Iraq's re-integration into the region and the wider international community, with actions including the reopening of land borders.
* Seeking a fair and sustainable solution to Iraq's debt problems.
* Promoting increased aid from the international community.
* Supporting an international reconstruction programme, and helping Iraq make the transition to a more prosperous and dynamic economy.
* Promoting investment in Iraq's oil industry, managed transparently and fairly, and trade in open world markets, for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
* Encouraging the renewal of cultural and educational exchanges with other countries.