Tony Blair believes that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe should be overthrown, a German magazine quoted the former British prime minister as saying in an interview published on Wednesday.

“I think if you can get rid of Mugabe, get rid of him. The guy has destroyed his country. There are many people in his country who have died who should not have died, because of what he has done,” Blair told the Stern weekly.

“If you can, you should, but you obviously have to operate in careful limits,” he said.

Blair also rejected criticism that his closeness to the United States and Israel made him unsuitable for his current job as envoy for the Middle East Quartet, mediating between the Jewish state and the Palestinians.

“I can honestly say that not once in all the time that I have been dealing with the Palestinians has the issue of my close relationship with the US or Israel ever been a problem. On the contrary, it is an advantage,” Blair said.

“I remember president (Mahmud) Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, when I had my first conversation with him. I said it might be a disadvantage because of my closeness to America and my strong view on Israel, and he said: ‘That is why you are useful.’”

Blair, who stepped down as British premier in 2007, was former US president George W. Bush’s closest ally in the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and drew criticism for his support of Israel‘s bombardment of southern Lebanon in 2006.

The 56-year-old also reiterated that he had no regrets about toppling Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein despite the fact that no weapons of mass destruction — his main argument for the invasion — were found.

“I always say to people the question is very simple in the end: would the region be better off if Saddam was still in power,” he told Stern. “Do I regret having removed him, Saddam Hussein? The answer is frankly, no.”

(Source)