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Former British Prime Minister Named Mideast Envoy

27 June 2007

Blair to represent Quartet on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

Washington – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will represent the Quartet in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the U.S. State Department announced June 27.

The Quartet comprises the United States, Russia, the European Union and United Nations.

Blair, who stepped down earlier on June 27 as prime minister, becomes the first Quartet representative to the often tenuous peace negotiations, the announcement said.

President Bush offered his immediate support for Blair's appointment in a June 27 statement.

“I welcome the appointment of Tony Blair as the Quartet Representative. In his new role, Tony will help Palestinians develop the political and economic institutions they will need for a democratic, sovereign state able to provide for its people and live in peace and security with Israel,” Bush said.

As Quartet representative, Blair will:

• Mobilize international assistance to the Palestinians, working with donors and existing groups;

• Help identify and secure international support in addressing the governance needs of the Palestinian state, focusing on the rule of law;

• Promote Palestinian economic development, including business partnerships, by building on previously agreed plans, especially those addressing access and movement; and

• Coordinate with other countries as necessary in support of Quartet objectives.

Blair will focus Quartet efforts to promote an end to the conflict in conforming to the 2003 road map for Middle East peace, according to the announcement.

The road map is a comprehensive plan to resolve political, economic, security, and humanitarian issues to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  (See full text of the road map.)

"He will spend significant time in the region working with the parties and others to help create viable and lasting government institutions representing all Palestinians, a robust economy, and a climate of law and order for the Palestinian people," according to the statement.

Blair will be supported by a small team of experts, based in Jerusalem, and “seconded” by partner countries and institutions, the announcement said.

The full text of the Quartet announcement is available on the State Department Web site.

The full text of President Bush’s statement is available on the White House Web site.

For more information on U.S. policies, see The Middle East: A Vision for the Future.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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