Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Look Out Israel, After Selling Out The Brits ....

This comes as no great surprise.
Scepticism hangs over Blair's appointment as quartet envoy

· Former PM to help build Palestinian institutions

· No formal role in finding permanent solution

Tony Blair is to make his first working visit to Ramallah in the West Bank next month as envoy of the quartet of Middle East peacemakers, it emerged yesterday, after his job was confirmed amid scepticism about any chance of his success.
The French Poodle effect?
His role of quartet representative was announced jointly in New York by the US, EU, UN and Russia. Mr Blair will work on building government institutions and the rule of law, mobilising international help, and promoting the economy.

"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," the quartet said in a statement.

They stopped short of giving Mr Blair an explicit role as mediator between the Israelis and Palestinians in the peace process, but did give a broad remit to "liaise with other countries as appropriate in support of the agreed quartet objectives". Sources close to Mr Blair said he expected his role to be bigger than that assigned to his predecessor, James Wolfensohn, a former World Bank president who resigned in frustration in April 2006 after focusing just on the economy, on preparation for Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Mr Blair sees his role as preparing ground for eventual talks on a final, comprehensive settlement by Palestinians and Israelis, with his immediate task to help to halt the violence between Fatah and Hamas and heal the divide.
Can we spell d-e-l-u-s-i-o-n-a-l?
His appointment left some egos battered and generated controversy. Russia demanded last minute changes to the terms of reference, clarifying his precise status. Mr Blair also spoke to Vladimir Putin, Russia's president.

Gordon Brown was described as angry at being presented with a fait accompli, making it difficult for him to formulate his own Middle East policy.

"This keeps Blair interminably in the limelight," said a top diplomat, noting the former PM will report to the UN general assembly in September, just as Mr Brown makes his maiden appearance.

Javier Solana, EU foreign policy chief, with a long track-record in the region, is also unhappy, Brussels sources say. The Foreign Office, where top officials knew nothing until last Thursday, is said to be in an "institutional sulk".
There's more. Much more.

No comments: