Wednesday, June 20, 2007

U.S. Presses Blair to Become Mideast Envoy

New York Times: By HELENE COOPER

WASHINGTON, June 20 — The United States is pressing departing British Prime Minister Tony Blair to become a special envoy to the Middle East, Bush administration officials said today.

The appointment would be the most visible attempt at laying the groundwork for a Palestinian state since President Bill Clinton wrangled with Yasir Arafat and Ehud Barak during the waning hours of his administration in 2001....

Mr. Bush has spoken to Mr. Blair about the proposal, and discussed it Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as well, Israeli and Bush administration officials said. Senior Israeli officials said that Mr. Olmert is very keen on the idea.

British officials said today that Mr. Blair hasn’t decided if he will take on the task yet, and they bristled that public comments from the Bush administration now were premature. ...

During the Israeli-Hezbollah war last summer..., Mr. Blair offered to travel to the region, and noted at the time that, as prime minister of Britain, he could say and do things that would not necessarily carry the baggage of similar actions by Mr. Bush or Ms. Rice, because of America’s close relationship with Israel.

Give the poor guy a chance to salvage his reputation after Iraq, and maybe pick up a Nobel Peace Prize along the way. And he needs a new job. Godspeed, Mr. Blair.

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