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Blair defends decision to invade Iraq

Former British PM Tony Blair has defended his decision to invade Iraq.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Former British Prime Minister (PM) Tony Blair on Thursday brushed aside threats of arrest saying he does not regret the decisions he took relating to the invasion of Iraq.

Blair was speaking at the 2012 Discovery Invest Leadership Summit at the Sandton Convention Centre.

The former PM also took a swipe at Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu saying leaders should be able to disagree without claiming to be morally superior.

His presence at the summit caused some controversy including Tutu's withdrawal from the event.

He said while mistakes were made he believed based on the intelligence available at the time that he made the right decisions.

Outside the summit, the Al Jama-ah party protested against Blair's appearance.

It said it was a slap in the face for those who lost their lives during the war in Iraq

The party wants Blair to be arrested and charged with crimes against humanity for his role in the 2003 invasion.

During his speech, Blair refused to apologise for "removing a brutal dictator" saying people should instead be protesting against terrorism.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan spoke tough on corruption and the need for more small businesses to grow the economy.

He also said while political contests will come and go, South Africans should focus on the bigger picture.

Russian political activist and chess champion Garry Kasparov called on South Africa to invest more in education while business expert Michael Porter warned that state-owned companies often landed up being a drain on society.