LONDON, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Former British prime minister Tony Blair said he will "take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse" over the Iraq war, after the publication of a long-awaited inquiry into the war on Wednesday.
Speaking before the publication of the report, the chairman of the inquiry John Chilcot said Britain went to war before all peaceful options had been exhausted.
He also said that the legal basis for British military action in Iraq was "far from satisfactory," stressing that British policy on Iraq was made on the basis of "flawed intelligence and assessments."
In the report, finally published seven years after the inquiry began and 13 years after British and U.S. troops invaded Iraq, Chilcot concluded that Britain's military role in Iraq went "badly wrong" and "ended a long way from success."
He noted that Blair was warned that military action in Iraq would increase the threat of al Qaeda to Britain, but war risks were not "properly identified."
In March 2003, there was "no imminent threat" from Saddam Hussein, according to Chilcot.
In response to the publication of the report, Blair said "the report does make real and material criticisms of preparation, planning, process and of the relationship with the United States."
"These are serious criticisms and they require serious answers," he said in a statement.
He also announced that he will respond in detail to the criticisms later on Wednesday.
"I will at the same time say why, nonetheless, I believe that it was better to remove Saddam Hussein and why I do not believe this is the cause of the terrorism we see today whether in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world," he added.
However, Blair defended his "good faith" in his decisions to go to war in Iraq.
"The report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit. Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein, I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country," he said.
Blair said that in the report there was no falsification or improper use of intelligence, no deception of Cabinet, and no secret commitment to war whether at Crawford Texas in April 2002 or elsewhere.
"The inquiry does not make a finding on the legal basis for military action but finds that the Attorney General had concluded there was such a lawful basis by March 13, 2003," he explained.
Blair paid tribute to British Armed Forces, saying: "I will express my profound regret at the loss of life and the grief it has caused the families, and I will set out the lessons I believe future leaders can learn from my experience."