BREAKING: 1) Mandelson & Miliband both out of EU race; 2) France’s Foreign Minister says Tony Blair is still in the race; 3) EU meeting on 19th November to decide on EU posts
Comment at end
11th November, 2009
Israeli deputy prime minister Silvan Shalom told Sky News he had mixed feelings about the possibility of Mr Blair leaving his job as envoy and going to Europe.
“We don’t want to lose him here, but we need him there,” he said. “I don’t want to intervene in European politics. I just would like to wish him all the best.”
Read that again, please. The Israeli Deputy PM doesn’t want to lose Blair as Quartet envoy, BUT they feel they need him in Europe!
A cry for international coordinated help? I think so, but then I have always thought that Blair is uniquely equipped to fulfill that leadership role. And with Obama holding secret meetings with Netanyahu and being preached at by Amanutjob to choose Iran or Israel – perhaps the ”elephant in the room” (the silent candidacy) needs to start trumpeting his wares.
For those who still think that Tony Blair is not appreciated in his Middle East job, read the rest here.
From the Office of Tony Blair YouTube channel here, comes this video interview of Mr Blair from Ramallah, with Christiane Amanpour of CNN, in New York.
Tony Blair talks to CNN about improving the Palestinian economy (9:47m)
From the Tony Blair Office YouTube channel:
“Quartet Representative Tony Blair talks about the launch of two major projects which will provide a vital boost in both investment and jobs to the Palestinian economy – both which have been at the heart of his agenda to change the facts on the ground – with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.”
For those interested in the envoy’s future, the noises off are still enigmatic. Except that it is clear he is not ruling himself out of the EU presidency race. (Watch from roughly 7:44 to 9:05)
And from the Tony Blair website:
Quartet Representative Tony Blair today took part in the launch of two major projects which will provide a vital boost in both jobs and investment to the Palestinian economy – and which have been at the heart of his agenda to change the “facts on the ground.”
Mr Blair welcomed the opening of the Jalameh vehicle crossing which will provide a massive boost to the north of the West Bank by allowing private cars through for the first time since the second intifada.
In response to a request from the Quartet Representative in May 2008 to the Government of Israel to allow open the crossing to privately owned vehicles, as a first step Arab-Israeli pedestrians were allowed to use crossing from August 2008.
The crossing has now been upgraded to accommodate cars. This will have a significant economic impact and is to be warmly welcomed. On the first Saturday that the crossing was fully open more than 500 cars entered Jenin through the crossing.
After meeting with business people in Jenin and going on a city centre walkabout with Governor Mousa, Tony Blair headed down to Ramallah for the launch of the Wataniya mobile phone network.
Wataniya is scheduled to invest US $700 million in the Palestinian economy over a 10 year period, creating at least 750 skilled jobs and an additional 2,000 indirect jobs. This is the largest Foreign Direct Investment into the Palestinian economy. Wataniya will bring in revenues for the Palestinian Authority: in addition to regular tax revenues created by its operations, US$ 354 million in licensing fees for the PA are being generated.
Tony Blair, speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, said: “The Palestinian economy here on the West Bank is actually growing strongly.”
“We just made a major opening now which will allow better trade between Arab-Israelis and Palestinians in the city of Jenin and we just launched a second mobile telephony company.
“There are good things happening as well, but obviously it’s important we find a way to relaunch and restart the political negotiation,” he added.
In the news:
Blair Hails Economic Steps in West Bank (New York Times)
More news from The Office of Tony Blair:
- Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative to create sustainable development through good governance becomes a UK charity
- Video: Tony Blair spells out critical importance of Copenhagen at Queensland Climate Summit
- Video: Tony Blair talks to Sally Quinn about his Faith Foundation and religion in today’s world
Follow Tony Blair online:
- Quartet Emissary Tony Blair on peace with the PA – Q&A
- Netanyahu & Obama Hold Secret Talks
- A Perceptive Blogger on ‘Operation sideline Blair’ – on Paul Waugh’s & half the press’s efforts to talk down “President Blair”
- Miliband announces officially he is OUT of the EU race. He says he is committed to British politics. Good news for Blair? Not so good for Brown?
- How are the EU presidency votes shaping up? Shhhh… we’re not telling.
Tags: amanutjob, Christiane Amanpour, Israeli deputy prime minister Silvan Shalom, Jalameh vehicle crossing, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Netanyahu, Quartet Representative Tony Blair, Ramallah, Wataniya, We don’t want to lose him here but we need him there