British Prime Minister Tony Blair has expressed Britain's "regret" for its role in the African slave trade, abolished 200 years ago.

In a video statement on the 200th anniversary of Britain's abolition of the trade Sunday, Mr. Blair said his country regrets the "unbearable suffering" the slave trade caused Africans and Africa as a whole.

The statement - which aired in Britain and in Ghana during commemorations there - fell short of demands for a formal apology.

Earlier Sunday, the Church of England's first black archbishop, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, said Britain should formally apologize for its role in the slave trade.

Speaking on British television (BBC), the Ugandan-born cleric said an informal apology earlier this month by Prime Minister Tony Blair should be taken a step further.

On Saturday, Archbishop Sentamu led thousands of people in a march in London, with some marchers wearing yokes and chains. Leaders said the march was a way Anglicans could try to heal historic injustice inflicted in the name of the church.

Last year, the Church of England officially apologized for its role in the slave trade in British colonies and the archbishops asked people to reflect on the horrors of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .