Tony Blair warned Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to find safety as his regime began to collapse.
Showing surprising concern for the tyrant’s welfare, Mr Blair told him: ‘If you have a safe place to go then you should go there’.
There was no mention of facing justice and instead Mr Blair wanted to broker a deal for Gaddafi.
The conversation shines a light once again on his questionable links to the man responsible for decades of authoritarian rule.
The former Prime Minister was criticised over his infamous ‘Deal in the desert’ in 2004 which secured lucrative oil deals for BP and ended Libya’s international isolation.
He also wrote Gaddafi grovelling letters which began: ‘Dear Muammar, I trust you and your family are well’.
The conversation between Mr Blair and Gaddafi was made public as part of the latest batch of emails released from when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State in response to a freedom of information request.
The relevant message is dated February 25, 2011 and was sent by Mr Blair’s head of strategy Catherine Rimmer to Jake Sullivan, Mrs Clinton’s former top foreign policy adviser, who sent it on to her.
At the time Mr Blair was special envoy to the Middle East for the Quartet – the UN, the US, the EU and Russia.
Miss Rimmer notes that ‘Mr Blair wanted me to let you know that he is making these calls very privately and is not briefing the media’.
She says that Mr Blair ‘delivered a very strong message to Gaddafi that the violence had to end and that he had to stand aside’.
Miss Rimmer then directly quotes Mr Blair telling Gaddafi: ‘The absolute key thing is that the bloodshed and violence must stop…if you have a safe place to go then you should go there, because this will not end peacefully unless that happens.
‘If this goes on for another day/two days we will go past the point. I’m saying this because I believe it deeply. If we can’t get a way through/out very quickly this will go past the point of no return.
Another email from February 23, 2011 from Mr Sullivan to Mrs Clinton describes how Mr Blair was suggested to Mrs Clinton as someone who ‘might have a good relationship’ with Gaddafi. The dictator fled the capital Tripoli and was killed by rebels near Sirte, his birthplace, in October 2011.
Other messages sent and received by Mrs Clinton reveal more details about how Cherie Blair lobbied her on behalf of her friends in the Qatari government.
Earlier emails showed that in the summer of 2009 and in 2010 Mrs Blair arranged a meeting between Mrs Clinton and her friend Sheikha Mozah.
The latest batch show that in the summer of 2011 Mrs Blair also facilitated a meeting with Mrs Clinton and Fahed al-Atiyah, chairman of the Qatar Food Security Programme.
Nobody for Mr or Mrs Blair was available for comment.
As published in the Daily Mail