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Tony Blair to become new Middle East peace envoy

Filed under: Middle East

The outgoing British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, will be moving to Jerusalem to become the special envoy to the Middle East for the ‘International Quartet'. Representatives from the diplomatic grouping of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations agreed on the appointment at a meeting in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The post of special envoy had been vacant for more than a year.

"I think that anybody who cares about greater peace and stability in the world knows that a lasting and enduring resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian issue is essential," Blair said. "I have said on many occasions, I would do whatever I could to help such a resolution come about."

Blair's new post will be based in Jerusalem, with a potential second office in the West Bank. A major part of his job will be working with the Palestinians on security, economics and governance.

On Wednesday, the newly selected UK Labour Party leader, Gordon Brown, will succeed Blair as Prime Minister.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder welcomed the appointment of Blair. "I have found him extremely fair and he would make a wonderful envoy," Lauder told a press conference in Brussels.

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