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British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in a radio interview for broadcast Monday that there likely would be progress in the Middle East peace process over the next few weeks.
World leaders agreed that the Israeli-Palestinian crisis was the single most important factor influencing world peace, Blair told BBC radio, adding that a breakthrough could be made soon.
"Our obligation is to put forward a peace process that can work and try and take that forward," he said, according to extracts released in advance by the BBC. "And over the next few weeks I think there will be some real movement there."
Blair has made the search for Middle East peace a priority of his 10-year premiership, and said he would continue to promote peace efforts after leaving office. He has announced he will step down by September.
"I will retain a huge interest in the peace process in Israel and Palestine in the years to come, of course, because it's so important," Blair said.
He said he was "in the end optimistic that this thing can be done." "But it requires a lot of hard work, a lot of commitment and it requires the international community as a whole to recognize that there is no more important issue for us to resolve than Israel/Palestine."