Following discussions among the Principals, the Middle East diplomatic Quartet – comprising the United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation and United States – today announced the appointment of former United Kingdom leader Tony Blair as its Representative.
Recent events in both Gaza and the West Bank “make it more urgent than ever that we advance the search for peace in the Middle East,” the Quartet said in a statement, reaffirming its objective to “promote an end to the conflict in conformity with the Roadmap.”
The urgency of these 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 neighbours,” it added.
To this end, Mr. Blair, who also stepped down as Prime Minister today, has been named Representative, a position in which he 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 Roadmap.”
His duties will include mobilizing international assistance to the Palestinians and working closely with donors and others, as well as helping to identify and securing support in addressing the Palestinian state’s institutional governance needs.
In his new role, Mr. Blair – who be supported in his efforts by a small expert team based in Jerusalem – will also develop plans to promote Palestinian economic development and will communicate with other countries in support of agreed Quartet objectives.
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.
The new Representative will report to and regularly consult with the Quartet, which “looks forward to welcoming Mr. Blair at its next meeting.”