The Quartet envoy to the Middle East and former UK prime minister Tony Blair told Channel 2 news Thursday that Monday's Quartet talks centering around renewing Israel-Palestinian peace negotiations were not a complete failure, and that in the face of "difficult issues" and agreement is more pressing than ever.
Blair said that he understands why the Palestinian Authority is adamantly pursuing UN recognition of a Palestinian state, but said that he did not think this would produce a final resolution. The Quartet envoy stressed that only through agreement can a peaceful solution be reached.
Blair to return in search for statehood bid solution
Quartet envoys search for elusive peace talks formula
Quartet succumbed to Israeli pressure, PA says
The former UK prime minister, who will return to the region
in a matter of days, also said that the Palestinian Authority fears entering negotiations where refugees have have been "pre-judged" in any final outcome.
Blair is expected to return to the region in a matter of days to
continue the Quartet’s search for a formula that will keep the
Palestinians from seeking statehood recognition at the UN in September
and enable negotiations to restart.
The Quartet envoy maintained his optimism about the future of the peace
process during his interview with Channel 2 despite that fact that the
Quartet meeting in Washington Monday failed to result in what many
expected would be a joint statement including a formula for returning to
Israeli officials declined to discuss whether the reason for the failure
to come out with a statement was not only because of gaps between
Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but also differences among members
of the Quartet themselves. Fatah’s commissioner for international
relations, Nabil Shaath was quoted by Palestinian news agency Wafa as
saying that Russia had "played a crucial role in preventing the Quartet
from adopting a stance that calls the Palestinians to recognize Israel
as a Jewish state.”
The Quartet is made up of the US, EU, Russia and the UN.