Comment at end
12th February, 2010
Hillary Clinton: “Consistent with Prime Minister Fayyad’s plan for a future Palestinian state, Tony Blair, as the Quartet representative, will intensify his partnership with Senator Mitchell in support of the political negotiations.” (my bolding)
POLITICAL NEGOTIATING POWER FOR BLAIR IN MIDDLE EAST?
In November last year when it was clear that the EU in its wisdom had decided on A.N. Other for Council President I said this:
“They need to give REAL power to the man who has already changed the business and infrastructure geography there. It is my humble opinion, but what do I know (?) that certain parties were hoping he’d lead Europe to greater political influence over a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. No chance now – with Pompeii and The Other One.
So, give Blair the tools and he’ll do the job. But make it snappy[…] DON’T let him go to waste.”
I don’t take credit for Tony Blair’s new higher profile in the moribund “peace process”, of course not. There would have been more than just me wondering in November how best to use Blair and wondering if he can bring something new to the table. In my humble opinion, I think he can and will. He may even be influential enough to help put an end to the ongoing shenanigans in Iran.
You can be sure of this: if there is one thing Tony Blair does NOT want any time soon it is another war attached to his name, deservedly or not.
Statement by Secretary Clinton on Developments in the Middle East
Secretary of State
I spoke today with Quartet Representative Blair to discuss developments in the Middle East.
This Administration has, from the beginning, worked to bring about comprehensive peace in the Middle East, including a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On that issue our approach has been three-fold: (1) to help build the economy and capacity to govern of a Palestinian state; (2) to renew political negotiations to enable the earliest possible establishment of that state; and (3) to achieve these in a manner that ensures the security of Israel and of the Palestinians.
Consistent with Prime Minister Fayyad’s plan for a future Palestinian state, Tony Blair, as the Quartet representative, will intensify his partnership with Senator Mitchell in support of the political negotiations. In his role as Quartet Representative Tony Blair will continue, with full support by and coordination with Senator Mitchell, to mobilize the efforts of the international community: (1) to build support for the institutional capacity and governance of a future Palestinian State, including on the rule of law; (2) to improve freedom of movement and access for Palestinians; (3) to encourage further private sector investment; and (4) to bring change in the living conditions of the people in Gaza.
Clinton says Blair to play bigger role in Mideast (Washington Post)
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is going to play a bigger role in efforts to get Israel and the Palestinians back to peace talks by intensifying his partnership with special U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell.
In a written statement, Clinton said she had spoken to Blair on Thursday about developments in the region. As a result of that call, she said Blair would broaden his current role as representative of the so-called Quartet of Mideast peacemakers to “intensify his partnership” with Mitchell in support of the attempt to revive political negotiations.
Blair took his position as leader of the Quartet – comprising the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia – in June 2007. Until now he has confined his activities to building support for the Palestinian Authority. He had not served as a mediator or negotiator.
Clinton’s statement did not say how Blair would partner with Mitchell in the effort to revive peace talks. Clinton aides said they did not immediately have details. The failure thus far to get the Israelis and Palestinians back to the bargaining table has been one of the major foreign policy disappointments of the first year of the Obama administration.
The prospect for bringing the Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table, following a break-off in late 2008, is expected to be among the subjects Clinton discusses during a visit this weekend and next week to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke off mainly over the issue of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land, including in east Jerusalem. Israel committed to a full settlement freeze under a 2003 peace plan but did not fully meet that obligation.
The Palestinians contend there is no point in negotiating while Israel expands the settlements.
This Israel, Foreign Policy Blogs site doesn’t seem too excited – “State Department says nothing“
I believe it does day something. It means that for the first time since he became Middle East envoy Tony Blair will now be involved in all THREE aspects of the American policy, as detailed here.
(1) to help build the economy and capacity to govern of a Palestinian state; (2) to renew political negotiations to enable the earliest possible establishment of that state; and (3) to achieve these in a manner that ensures the security of Israel and of the Palestinians.
Prior to this Mr Blair was only involved in the first of the above. That is promotion and increase of power in anyone’s language.
We should never forget, although we often do, that HE was generally considered a major moving force, if not THE moving force in the Northern Ireland peace settlement. It took a year during which he spent 40% of his time on the task before the Good Friday Agreement was signed. We also need to remember that it then took another NINE years until complete.