US rules out mediatory role for Blair in Middle East

Israel News.Net
Saturday 30th June, 2007 (ANI)

London, June 30 : The Bush Administration has made it it clear that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will have no power to mediate peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Instead, the State Department said that Blair will be confined to improving the institutions of the Palestinian Authority.

Blair has been named an envoy of the “Quartet” – a group charged with bringing about peace in the Middle East – comprising America, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.

On the day of his appointment earlier this week, Blair had told Parliament his “absolute priority” would be to “give effect” to a

    “two-state solution, which means a state of Israel that is secure and confident of its security and a Palestinian state that is viable, not merely in terms of its territory, but in terms of its institutions”.

Then he told the Northern Echo newspaper that his “huge challenge” was to “prepare the ground for a negotiated settlement”.

The Bush Administration quickly contradicted Blair’s sweeping definition of his role. Tom Casey, the State Department’s deputy spokesman, made it clear that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians will be handled by Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State.

In her statement welcoming Blair’s appointment, Dr Rice described his task as creating “viable and lasting Palestinian government institutions”, strengthening “the Palestinian economy” and establishing “law and order for the Palestinian people”. She made no mention of mediating peace talks.

Aaron David Miller, an expert on the Arab-Israeli conflict who advised six Secretaries of State, was quoted by The Telegraph as saying that no US Secretary of State worth his salt would ever allow anyone else to have that kind of responsibility as was being envisioned by Balir.

July 2, 2007 | 1 Comment »

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