Tony Blair: Gaza Cease-fire 'Hangs in the Balance'

Blair was in Washington to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom award from President Bush, whom he staunchly supported in the Iraq war, receiving wide criticism in Great Britain.

Blair: 'I Don't Regret' Supporting U.S. in Iraq

He said that he doesn't regret his decision to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the United States after Sept. 11.

"I took that decision then and I don't regret it now," he said. "And I think even though it is incredibly difficult in Iraq and Afghanistan and actually it's the same issue that we've just been talking about in Israel and Palestine. I think we have to be prepared for a long struggle and a difficult one and it will be a struggle that involves not just military power but also strategic diplomacy. But I am sure that in that struggle our two countries should be alongside each other and partners of each other."

As for the next president, Blair said he has met with President-elect Barack Obama many times and spoken to him recently about the situation in Israel and Palestine, adding that he supportsObama's taking an active role in the conflict.

"I think he's got a moment of huge possibility and hope and opportunity," Blair said. "I think what is important is that the rest of the world understands that he needs partners and friends and people who are prepared to stand up with him, not just cheer from the sidelines. So it is a moment of great possibility, but it's also a moment of huge challenge, you know I'm optimistic, but then I always am."

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