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6th February 2012
Now the headline’s caught your attention – let me hit you with the facts. I know, I know – you’re not used to ‘facts’ when it comes to Tony Blair.
He hasn’t been “sacked” from his unpaid job as Quartet Representative for the Quartet envoys on Israeli/Palestinian issues.
Reading on Twitter the plethora of misinformed sarcasm – “hasn’t Blair done a great job as Middle East envoy … how many revolutions now? … SO-O-O much peace already” – and such tripe I thought it was time to remind readers of his actual job description. I mentioned it already in October last year, but you can’t get too much of a good thing. And even I, for some time, described Mr Blair as the “envoy”.
So here it is again (my red bolding in the below) –
From the UN website this is SG/2129 – PAL/2085, published 27th June 2007 by the Secretary General’s Office. It can be found here
STATEMENT BY MIDDLE EAST QUARTET
Following is the text of a statement issued by the Quartet ( United Nations, Russian Federation, United States, European Union):
Quartet principals noted that recent events in Gaza and the West Bank make it more urgent than ever that we advance the search for peace in the Middle East. The Quartet reaffirms its objective to promote an end to the conflict in conformity with the Road Map, and expresses its intention to redouble its efforts in that regard. The urgency of recent events has reinforced the need for the international community, bearing in mind the obligations of the parties, to help Palestinians as they build the institutions and economy of a viable State in Gaza and the West Bank, able to take its place as a peaceful and prosperous partner to Israel and its other neighbours.
To facilitate efforts to these ends, following discussions among the principals, today the Quartet announced the appointment of Tony Blair ( United Kingdom) as the Quartet Representative. Mr. Blair, who is stepping down from office this week, has long demonstrated his commitment on these issues.
As Quartet Representative, he will:
– Mobilize international assistance to the Palestinians, working closely with donors and existing coordination bodies;
– Help to identify and secure appropriate international support in addressing the institutional governance needs of the Palestinian State, focusing as a matter of urgency on the rule of law;
– Develop plans to promote Palestinian economic development, including private sector partnerships, building on previously agreed frameworks, especially concerning access and movement; and
– Liaise with other countries as appropriate in support of the agreed Quartet objectives.
As Representative, Tony Blair will bring continuity and intensity of focus to the work of the Quartet in support of the Palestinians, within the broader framework of the Quartet’s efforts to promote an end to the conflict in conformity with 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.
Tony Blair will be supported in this work by a small team of experts, based in Jerusalem, to be seconded by partner countries and institutions.
The Quartet representative will report to and consult regularly with the Quartet and be guided by it as necessary.
The Quartet looks forward to welcoming Mr. Blair at its next meeting.
LET’S NOT SHOOT THE MESSENGER
I notice that Mr Brian Barder has also been trying to explain to closed eyes, ears and minds. He describes at great length his “dialogue with the deaf at The Guardian”. He even pastes in his letters to and from that great organ of the Guardian’s ‘troof’.
Perhaps Mr Barder does not realise that the Guardian, like many others would love Mr Blair to be the envoy: the envoy that failed.
I know it’s kind of tough for them to deal with the facts, but the fact is that any failure would be that of the Quartet’s envoys and not of their messenger.
So let’s try not to shoot him.
Also from Brian Barder –
“How much if any success Mr Blair has achieved in these challenging but specific tasks since June 2007 I don’t know, but as the Americans stressed publicly at the time, it’s a strictly limited mandate almost entirely unconnected with the peace process — just as it’s a bit of an exaggeration to describe as “President of Europe” an appointment as President (or more accurately in English, Chair or Chairperson) of the EU Council of Ministers, whoever gets the job.”
And if you want more why not keep an eye on the Quartet information at Tony Blair’s website
The Office of the Quartet Representative (OQR) works with the Palestinian Authority, the Government of Israel, international organisations and NGOs to help build the institutions and economy for a future Palestinian state. The OQR seeks to achieve the objective of the Quartet and Quartet Representative, Tony Blair: to promote an end to the Israel-Palestine conflict and bring stability to the Middle East.
The Quartet was established in 2002 and is composed of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia. In accordance with the Quartet’s mandate to him, Mr. Blair works with a team of international diplomats and development experts in Jerusalem and London. The OQR’s guiding principle is that improved social and economic conditions should promote increased confidence, trust and broad support by both Palestinians and Israelis for a just, lasting and credible peace agreement. Through sustained and intensive consultation with the Palestinian Authority, the Government of Israel, the international community and civil society, the OQR works to secure a two-state solution, with two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders.
In support of a peaceful solution, the OQR follows a three-track approach:
- Promoting the continuation of Israeli-Palestinian political negotiations within a credible timeframe;
- Aiding transformative change on the ground, to improve the daily lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and security for Israelis and Palestinians, and to generate a positive atmosphere that will facilitate success in the political negotiations; and
- Developing a new strategy for Gaza, including lifting the blockade, so that reconstruction can take place, legitimate business can prosper and the livelihoods of Palestinians living in Gaza improve.
This approach informs the following key OQR objectives:
- Donor Assistance: Secure from international lenders and donors more timely, predictable and adequate funding for the Palestinian Authority budget and priority areas;
- Private Sector Development: Enhance Palestinian economic and social development including vigorous Palestinian private sector expansion;
- Movement, Access and Trade Facilitation: Lift obstacles and restrictions to access and movement of goods and people to, from and within the West Bank and Gaza;
- Gaza Development: Support a ‘ground up’ development process in Gaza by enabling movement and access for imports and exports to all markets, promoting the development of the legitimate Gazan private sector and expediting the rehabilitation and construction of key infrastructure;
- Area C: Expand access to and facilitate development of Palestinian land designated under the Oslo Accords as “Area C”, which makes up 60 percent of the West Bank;
- Rule of Law: Help the Palestinian Authority strengthen its rule of law capacity and develop strong and well-integrated security and justice institutions with clearly-defined mandates;
- East Jerusalem: Improve the economic and social conditions of Palestinians living and working in East Jerusalem; and
- Tourism: Mobilise local and international support to tap the significant Holy Land tourism potential and create a more prosperous, balanced, robust and accessible tourism sector.
- To learn more about the OQR’s key strategies in these areas, visit the ‘Our Strategy’ pages on this website.
Who We Are
The Quartet Representative’s team of OQR advisers is led by:
- Ambassador Gary A. Grappo, Head of Mission (seconded by the US State Department)
- Dr. Daniel Arghiros, Deputy Head of Mission (seconded by the British Department of International Development)
OQR advisers based in Jerusalem:
- Mr. Rami Dajani, Rule of Law (Security) Adviser
- Mr. Henrik Denker, Infrastructure Adviser
- Mr. Awad Duaibes, Political & Media Adviser
- Mr. Neil Kritz, Rule of Law (Justice) Adviser
- Dr. Firas Raad, Development Adviser (seconded by the World Bank)
- Mr. Bader Rock, Private Sector & Trade Policy Adviser
- Mr. Hadi Abu Shahla, Development Adviser
- Mr. Charles Steel, Finance & Business Development Adviser
- Mr. Stefan Szepesi, Economic Adviser
- Dr. Tim Williams, Movement & Access Adviser (funded by the New Zealand Government)
- Ms. Ruti Winterstein, Political & Press Adviser
The Quartet Representative also has a small team in London:
- Mr. Nicolas Harrocks, Head of London Office and Senior Adviser (seconded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
- Ms. Helen Pocock, Adviser (seconded by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
The OQR’s donors are: the US State Department, the European Commission and the Norwegian Government.
If you would like to contact the OQR, click here
This is a pdf file on “Action in Support of Palestinian Authority state-building” and is to be found here
Earlier post at this blog – Here’s Your Cards
Comment samples follow from the Ban Blair-Baiting petition
1. I completely agree with everything that has been said on this website. As Prime Minister, Tony Blair worked tirelessly and selflessly in the interests of the people, and continues to do so today. He is primarily a humanitarian, and doesn’t deserve any of the vitriol that has been levelled at him. He was a great Prime Minister, is a thoroughly decent man; and should in my opinion, be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding work. – David Miliband (New Labour’s heir) for the next PM!
2. Best politician in Britain by a long way.
3. Fully support the petition. The criticism of Mr Blair has gone way beyond anything acceptable and seems to be carried out mainly by those who are looking to wash their hands of any involvement in supporting the Iraq war at the time. It is very easy to be ‘wise after the event’ and to make assumptions about how much Mr Blair knew or did not know before the war. In these people’s eyes, the former PM is guilty whatever the evidence.
4. An excellent petition this for a very undervalued PM. A PM who is not only the best in my lifetime but my parents lifetime too!